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Augmented Intelligence: The best of both worlds!

In the 1990s Gary Kasparov battled and ultimately lost to a mighty IBM supercomputer. Today anyone can buy a cheap program that will crush most grandmasters, but here’s the twist. In 2005, Playchess.com hosted a ‘freestyle’ chess tournament online, in which anyone could compete in teams with other players or computers. Several groups of grandmasters working with multiple computers at the same time entered the competition. As Kasparov himself described it:

“The surprise came at the conclusion of the event. The winner was not a grandmaster with a state-of-the-art PC but a pair of amateur American chess players using three computers at the same time. Their skill at manipulating and ‘coaching’ their computers to look very deeply into positions effectively counteracted the superior chess understanding of their grandmaster opponents and the greater computational power of other participants. What transpired was that “weak human + machine + better process” was superior to a strong computer alone and, more remarkably, superior to a “strong human + machine + inferior process”. In other words, amateurs armed with good strategies and harnessing the computational power of machines turned out to be the winning combination!

At Outcider, we believe that’s the best metaphor for the evolving new ‘machine-human’ partnership. With smart machines as our partners, we can operate at the level of grandmasters, not just in chess but in most domains of our lives, from science and medicine to game playing and commerce. The combination of humans partnering with machines and using superior strategies opens up new worlds for exploration. It is our opinion that ‘media monitoring’ has become too reliant on machines alone, with providers too readily offering insight and intelligence at the push of a button. We work closely with all our clients to ensure their knowledge continuously aligns to our listening and our machines focus on relevant issues from credible sources. Our machine can learn and can find change points, correlations and insights, but only through the ongoing input and feedback from human intervention.

Intelligence should not be artificial, reliant solely on a set of algorithms to determine our path. Intelligence requires the best of human and the best of technology to work together, augmenting the outputs and delivering information of genuine value and purpose to the end-user.

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