Human/Artificial Intelligence

The US Air Force and Navy are developing the Next-Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) fighter aircraft. Central to this development is the tenet of human/AI augmentation.

what is actually present with tremendous context (see works of Iain McGilchrist and Alfred L. Yarbus). The brain also does not precisely note occurrences but rather  good and bad that occurred so it can repeat or avoid in the future. The brain also learns through movement, exploration, and sequences of its memories as such – time and location are always significant factors in memory. Yet decision support systems often require multiple clicks, screens, or entire systems to present core and contextual information in ways that facilitate the brain’s internal model formulation. Next-generation systems and workplace models must have this scientific understanding at their core.

The pivotal insight for designers of new Human/AI cognitive augmentation is that they directly complement each other. When paired with natural language processing and advanced visualization techniques, the potential to influence the brain's understanding, framing, and final decision-making is limitless.

Human/technology & AI fusion

A prime example of next-generation human/tech/AI fusion is the concepts underpinning the development of air dominance fighters for the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy.

The United States Air Force and Navy are developing the Next-Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) fighter aircraft. Central to this development is the tenet of human/AI augmentation. The NGAD will represent a technological leap in the design of fighter aircraft on many levels; however, more importantly, it represents a fundamental shift in thinking away from a single unit or even team of units to what the U.S. Military frames as a "family of systems" intended to produce defined outcomes within an overall land, sea, air and space ecosystem. This conceptual thinking and unique Human/AI fusion model represents some of the most advanced concepts of multiple layers of human operators with all their uniqueness coupled with technology & AI seamlessly integrated to execute missions. Businesses in every industry vertical should be taking notes and applying the same thinking to their business models and missions.

The NGAD fuses a pilot with technology and AI in ways that eliminate traditional obstacles to mission objectives. One example is situational awareness in a 360-degree, 3D environment. Today, pilots rely on their sight, radar, and passive sensors and augmentation by Airborne Warning and Control Aircraft (AWACS) to provide information verbally or through flat displays or a virtual helmet. In the NGAD, all these will be radically elevated through an almost endlessly scalable and seamless integrated network of advanced sensors and connectivity on a distributed network of other fighters, satellites, radars, passive sensor arrays, drones, etc. The aircraft, its human pilot, and AI are at the center of the multi-dimensional, multi-spatial, cyber-physical universe of objects, platforms, AIs, and people distributed globally.

This new Human/Tech/AI cyber-physical fusion model is applicable to all organizations regardless of their industry as we can now re-design so much of our current value creation models.

Human augmentation/replacement

In discussions around the development and deployment of AI, few topics incite more vitriol than the topic of replacing humans in work roles. Soothsayers with inflammatory proclamations and those perpetually offended on the part of others often dominate the conversations, but the topic is valid, and the conversation needs to happen in every organization.

Again, framing is necessary for organizations seeking to create value and competitive advantage. The central tenet of this framing is simple – the exponential gains in value creation through problem-solving and innovation will come from augmentation, while only incremental gains will come from replacement. This is not to dismiss replacement, which will occur; it is simply to say that organizations seeking to replace humans with AI are confined to incremental gains in productivity and performance. The most successful firms in the 21st Century will be those able to combine humans and AI to solve problems and innovate.

In conclusion

We stand at an inflection point in human history, the transition from the Information Age to the Age of Augmentation. At the center of this age is the central tenet that humans and AI are categorically different yet uniquely complementary. This central tenet will guide us to create value through problem-solving and innovation as never before. And while replacing people in the workplace will occur, the gains, while not trivial, will be incremental. We have examples of human/technology & AI fusion developing before our eyes, and they can act as thought catalysts for other industries and societal segments.

Low-resolution and inflammatory predictions of inevitable doom have sounded throughout history and now serve little purpose. We may one day have to concern ourselves with a sentient AI contemplating the extermination of our species, but that is likely a concern for the next century. For the present we should focus on uniquely combining human beings and AI in optimal ways to do what is currently undo-able and to create value in ways never contemplated.


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