A Mind Meld with Artificial Intelligence

February 1, 2017 | 11:15
Amplified Intelligence
Amplified Intelligence
Many future scenarios frame Artificial Intelligence as the downfall of the human race. From the famous T-1000, to philosopher Nick Bostrom's single minded AI that will turn all our planet's resources into paper clips. Felix Häusler proposes a more cooperative model where man and machine merge to become Amplified Intelligence.

Häusler, the CEO of the Austrian startup Grape, spoke at a Tedx conference at the Modul University in Vienna [See video below]. He presented a real-world example of the impact of AI on our lives. According to a study, 47% of the workforce runs a high risk of losing their job to computerization. These include both manual and cognitive jobs that consist of a high degree of standardized tasks.

If those jobs aren't replaced with something else, humans will find themselves competing against AI in the job market. Häusler proposes to take a different route: instead of setting up AI as a rival, it should be developed as a complementing entity. And that isn't very hard because machines and people are very different.

AI is good at repetitive tasks and number crunching. It can search millions of web pages in an instant or find that one specific entry in a large spreadsheet. The first task can't be done by humans and the second will bore us to tears. Humans, however, have their own specific qualities. Häusler: 'We can create new rules and understand new patterns. You can throw a 100.000 informational bits at us and we will find those important to us in a second. We can do complex tasks in a 3D environment and we can understand socially complex situations.'

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The source of those extraordinary capabilities is our brain. In the classic model [1] of the brain the left hemisphere is responsible for logic, reasoning and processing language while the right-brain is associated with creativity, imagination and intuition. 'Which hemisphere is best suited for performing a dull and repetitive task like working through a hundred spreadsheets?', Häusler asked.


The human brain is simply not good at dullness and repetition. To relieve us of dullness Häusler wants to augment the brain with artificial intelligence. A third part of the brain responsible for repetition, accuracy and speed. Accessible for the left- and right-brain to outsource the data crunching to.

Rather than aiming for artificial intelligence that emulates the human brain as closely as possible, Häusler proposes to develop AI in the direction it is already good at. Instead of becoming competitors, artificial and biological intelligence draw on each other's strength. A merger between man and machine to form an Amplified Intelligence.

[1] That classical model of the brain is outdated, Häusler warned, but it serves well as a metaphor.

Image: Public Domain.
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