media update’s Aisling McCarthy delves into what augmented intelligence is, and how it is understood in relation to artificial intelligence.

Augmented intelligence is a term that is slowly starting to crop up more and more often. Think of it as augmented reality – a kind of technology that adds layers of information on top of the reality that exists.

In a similar way, augmented intelligence adds layers of information on top of the intelligence humans already have, helping them to be at their best. AI is often thought of as being built to replace humans, but augmented intelligence focuses more on the fact that AI will help humans rather than replace them.
Want to know more about what AR is and what it isn’t? Find out in our simple infographic, What's the difference between AR and VR?
Writing for The Drum, Craig Elimeliah says that using the term ‘augmented intelligence’ allows people to understand the full capabilities of AI.

“While AI is meant to help us humans with things like computation, memory, perseverance, precision and speed, which are all great things, when you extend the definition to augmented intelligence it then allows us to see how it can help to augment more human things like abstraction, breaking rules, judgment, nuance, listening and storytelling.”

At its core, augmented intelligence is not technically different from what is already being described as AI. Rather, it is a different perspective on the technological advances – especially those that allow computers and software to perform tasks that were thought to be exclusive to humans.

“Augmented reality extends our senses and our imagination [in] the same way augmented intelligence extends our intellect,” says Elimeliah.

Calling these technological advances ‘artificial’ is already misleading, as ‘artificial’ is a replacement for something ‘natural’. Thus, AI vaguely alludes to some kind of fake intelligence that is on par with human intelligence. That alone is enough to conjure fear and panic about how AI will be applied to humanity.

What many people fear about AI is its ability to reason and decide like humans do. However, the possibility of technology that could do anything close to that is decades away. This form of all-encompassing intelligence is known as general and super AI. What we have now is called narrow AI. Narrow AI is efficient at performing a single task, or a limited set of tasks.

Although humans have nothing to fear when it comes to AI, the fear still exists. Perhaps focusing on augmented intelligence will belay those fears in favour of the opportunities presented for human success.

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Wondering how humans and AI can work together? Find out in our article, Three ways to be a better human with AI.