A New Frontier in Augmented Intelligence

June 24, 2019

On December 9th, 1968, Doug Englebart—American engineer, inventor, and early computer pioneer—catapulted computing into the modern age with a jaw-dropping and highly influential computer demonstration now widely known as “The Mother of All Demos.” Englebart’s extensive research proved that computers could do much more than crunch numbers—they could actually augment the intelligence of workers to make them more effective.

Englebart’s landmark demo introduced groundbreaking innovations that went on to shape the future of workplace computing. For the first time, a graphical user interface could be used with text editing. Hyperlinks provided a means to link documents together, and a user could navigate these using a computer mouse. Users could also collaborate with one another through a network, using voice and video conferencing to share ideas. Though we take these technologies for granted today, the world of 1968 had never seen anything like them.

Today, there’s a new frontier in augmented Intelligence that is enabling the workforce to fully exploit its information assets so employees can be more effective in their daily work. We are living in a time of information explosion, but information alone cannot guarantee success. What matters is how you orchestrate the delivery of information to your workforce, providing the right insights at the right time, so that workers can see the “big picture” for each situation and act appropriately.

Along with information, there has been an explosion in the development of artificial intelligence products and machine learning capabilities to help us make sense of our information assets. While these help workers analyze large volumes of data and draw conclusions, they focus only on solving problems in specific domains with specific data sets. They do not provide broadly applicable, business-wide information technology solutions.

Think about how employees use information each day. The number of platforms, tools, and services they utilize in their daily work is extensive. It includes multiple systems of record, knowledge bases, document management systems, office applications, chatbots, collaboration tools, search mechanisms, data as a service, and more. Many of these systems are complex to navigate in their own right, and complexity increases as we layer on more and more sources of information. This complexity can inhibit your employees’ ability to fully exploit valuable information sources, either because they don’t know how to use them or because using them is simply too time-consuming in relation to their many other tasks.

The result? Opportunities are lost, efficiency decreases, and productivity suffers.

Giving workers easy access to the information they need when they need it, can simplify workflow, improve efficiency, and increase productivity. At AppBus, this is our focus as we strive to augment the intelligence of workforces around the world.

One of author and educator Stephen Covey’s favorite mantras from his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” We can apply this advice in the context of worker intelligence. By understanding what information employees need to do their jobs effectively, we can create a broader, business-wide approach that informs every specific employee task. Seeing the big picture enables workers to understand the unique context of each situation, leading to more informed and relevant decisions and more appropriate actions. Imagine how this approach might result in better customer experiences, increased sales, and improved product quality in your workplace.

So, when we set our sights on using IT to augment the intelligence of the workforce, we need to think more broadly than just AI and ML. The bigger opportunity in augmented intelligence—the new frontier—is about creating user experiences that synthesize all of the available information sources with the daily work activities of each employee. It’s about giving employees the power to work effectively by providing them with the information they need to see the big picture.

Are you and your employees seeing the big picture in your organization? Unlock the potential of your workforce with AppBus.