Human + AI: Avoiding an Algocratic Nightmare

In the last decade, many companies have been striving to become less bureaucratic, with fewer central rules and procedures, and more autonomy for local teams. However, the push towards artificial intelligence (AI) might inadvertently lead to a new form of bureaucracy – algocracy, where AI takes critical decisions based solely on rules, without human judgment. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of keeping humans in the loop and the benefits of adopting a "Human plus AI" approach.

The Human-Zero Mindset and its Pitfalls:

The human-zero mindset, where businesses aim to replace humans with AI to save costs, is tempting but dangerous. It is long, costly, and difficult to create a system where humans and AI work together effectively. However, the rewards are substantial. A recent survey from BCG and MIT shows that 18% of companies worldwide are pioneering AI, focusing 80% of their AI initiatives on effectiveness and growth rather than cost-cutting.

Why Keep Humans in the Loop?

AI, when left unchecked, can make poor decisions, sometimes with serious consequences. To avoid the algocratic nightmare, it’s crucial to maintain human involvement. AI can inadvertently reinforce biases, make errors, or apply rules too rigidly, leading to unfair or unjust outcomes. By keeping humans in the loop, businesses can ensure accountability, fairness, and the opportunity to correct AI’s mistakes.

The Secret Formula: Human plus AI:

To successfully deploy “Human plus AI,” businesses should follow a specific formula: 10% of the effort goes into coding algorithms, 20% into building tech around the algorithms, and 70% into weaving AI together with people and processes. This 70% is the most critical part, ensuring that AI is effectively integrated with human expertise and existing processes.

Avoiding Algocracy:

To avoid algocracy and ensure the successful implementation of “Human plus AI,” businesses should:

  1. Collaborate: Data scientists and domain experts should work together to code algorithms, ensuring that AI is grounded in real-world knowledge and expertise.
  2. Build powerful interfaces: Create interfaces that allow humans and AI to collaborate and solve complex problems together.
  3. Set boundaries: Humans must define the limits of AI’s decision-making power, establishing rules and ethical guidelines to prevent misuse or unintended consequences.
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The Importance of Human Knowledge:

Ultimately, winning organizations will invest in human knowledge as well as AI and data. Recruiting, training, and rewarding human experts is essential, as they are the key to unlocking the potential hidden within the data.

To Conclude:

Embracing the “Human plus AI” approach is the best way to bring the benefits of AI to the real world. By avoiding algocracy and focusing on collaboration, businesses can create a more efficient, fair, and accountable decision-making process. The future of AI lies in the hands of humans who are willing to work alongside it, combining their expertise with the power of technology to achieve remarkable results.

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