• March 30, 2021
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Required Reading: Augmented Intelligence Is the New AI

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In their book, Augmented Intelligence: The Business Power of Human–Machine Collaboration, Hurwitz & Associates’ president and CEO, Judith Hurwitz, and managing director Dan Kirsch, along with data scientist Henry Morris and computer/AI specialist Candace Sidner, maintain that the true power of artificial intelligence and machine learning lies in the ability for humans to work collaboratively with advanced technologies to create the best possible business outcomes. They warn that while many vendors promise that AI and automation on their own will be the path forward, things are always more complicated than we would hope, especially when it comes to new technologies. CRM editor Leonard Klie recently caught up with Hurwitz to find out more.

CRM: What exactly is augmented intelligence, and how do businesses acquire it?

HurwitzAugmented intelligence is a form of artificial intelligence that incorporates a combination of automation of machine intelligence with human insights and context to solve complex problems. To be successful, businesses need to create teams that include data scientists, professionals within the business who understand corporate data, and subject matter experts who understand the business. This team needs to create a road map and strategy that involves gaining an understanding of the business goals and the steps necessary to use emerging AI and data to accomplish these goals.

With all the data and artificial intelligence already available, why do we need augmented intelligence?

Data and AI are means to achieve business goals. You need a clear understanding of how augmented intelligence will help the business achieve end goals, such as increasing revenue, improving and transforming business processes, making better-informed decisions, or enabling less experienced professionals to have the guidance to take more sophisticated actions.

What value does this kind of data provide for businesses?

Data is the foundation of both AI and augmented intelligence.

What is the data that determines your understanding of the business?

Critical data comes in all forms—databases, unstructured data from customer information, third-party unstructured data sources that add to the depth of understanding of the business, journal articles, and documentation. It is critical that businesses understand the context of this information and how it creates models that can be applied to solving complex business process issues.

To which kinds of data can this form of intelligence be applied?

As mentioned above, to be successful with augmented intelligence requires having a comprehensive set of data sources related to business solutions. There isn’t one single form of data that creates success.

In the book, you assert that augmented intelligence is the secret to success today? Can you explain?

Many data scientists suggest that applying machine learning models and AI to address a business issue without human intervention is a total game changer. Simply applying fully automated systems will automatically solve many business problems and supplant the work of experienced personnel. The truth is more complicated. In reality, there are situations when a machine learning model can be used to automate a process, especially when the characteristics of that problem are bounded. For example, managing a complex network can be automated because it is possible to capture all the core patterns of how a network should operate. When an anomaly occurs, the model will be trained to either correct the error or alert a human to make a change.

However, in many situations simple automation isn’t enough when a business has to deal with context and complex problem-solving. In this case, arming professionals with data from a variety of sources that has been curated into an augmented intelligence system will help enable the business to have a better understanding of solutions and move forward at a much faster pace.

If there is one thing you want readers to get from reading this book, what would it be?

Artificial intelligence can be a powerful business tool. You have to approach tools and data in a way that moves your business forward. Understand your business goals and what problems you are trying to solve. As Lewis Carroll wrote in Alice in Wonderland, if you don’t know where you are going, any path will get you there. This book will give you a road map to starting your AI journey with a path.

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