It's about Humans
Every startup seems to be touting Artificial Intelligence, lately. It's in the hype cycle. At Zapnito we believe in Human Intelligence.
Social Media has moved the Internet’s output of Collective Intelligence (the original premise) to some form of Collective Stupidity. Cat Videos. Internet Trolls. Fake News. You’ve heard me speak about this before.
And so with everyone now attempting to jump on the hype cycle bandwagon, the Internet has not come anywhere near solving the problem of noise and AI has no chance in doing that alone.
Human Intelligence is not hype.
In the race towards Artificial Intelligence (AI) are we forgetting that?
We believe The Fourth Industrial Revolution will be built on human intelligence - the combination of AI with human experience, skills, expertise and oversight.
After reflecting on calm tech in my last article, I wanted to touch on this idea of Human Intelligence in context of calm tech and our vision.
Zapnito is founded on calm tech principles: technology should enable our focus to be on human-specific tasks. It should be designed for people first. It should provide a solution to a problem and nothing more. Importantly, calm tech should amplify the best parts of being human.
Human to human
I speak about developing knowledge collaboration hubs and expert driven communities with an emphasis on the human aspects of these. That seems obvious, but for some reason, with all the hype around AI, it feels necessary.
What makes expert communities special is that the content, collaboration and learning, is designed by humans for humans. Technology facilitates human to human interactions, but does not and will not replace it.
Person and machine
Person and machine must complement each other - not work against or supersede each other. The Futurist, Gerd Leonhard, focuses on this in his book, Technology versus Human. He speaks about the coming clash between person and machine if our focus remains on upgrading and automating absolutely everything.
Leonhard envisions an ideal future where humanity sits on top of technology to harness it, solving most of our modern-day challenges (such as global disease, food shortages and climate change). Technology can augment our human abilities. giving us more time to focus on fulfilling our social and cultural needs, and self-realization. He predicts that humanity will change more over the next 20 years than the previous 300 years - so it’s vital to have these conversations now and to set the right boundaries between person and machine.
Broad vs Narrow AI
Without getting into philosophy too much, singularity and broad AI is where we are headed- its inevitable. But it's a long way off.
Much of today’s AI falls into the ‘narrow AI’ category, which refers to narrow, specific tasks like image recognition, and natural language processing (your Alexa). Broad AI includes more complex, holistic tasks that involve several different functions and capabilities.
Though there is fear around broad AI it is far more likely to help, rather than hinder us. Jeff Bezos explains this well. As he points out, when talking about the future of work - the problem is we are less imaginative about what future jobs will look like.
the professions of today would have been totally unimaginable 100 years ago. My own - CEO of an Expert Community SaaS platform - would have sounded completely absurd.
Broad AI is likely to mean that our jobs will get more engaging. It will be less about productivity and more about creativity. Doing more, faster, will no longer be a concern because AI will do that far better than we ever could. The focus will shift to creativity, and what we as humans can uniquely bring to the table. The quality of work will increase, and we will be liberated to choose careers and jobs that fulfill us.
The value of human networks
You could argue that right now, with AI in its infancy, we’ve forgotten this. The true value of human-driven networks and the unique qualities they bring over machines.
That’s why, when the Zapnito team talks about developing expert communities with our clients, we always design each network around the human experience.
We look at the expert network world through the lens of that experience. One example of this is our ‘Rooms’. These areas are named such to mimic the real-world experience of a human entering a room to meet with and talk to the people inside. Similarly, we have ‘Groups’ of people who share common goals and interests. Much like how social groups are set-up with a core purpose. Everything we do and design is human-driven.
Which brings us to the most important part of Zapnito communities: the people. And they are all real. Our clients don’t need Elon Musk to point out the human beings should be valued on the platform.
Humans have an intrinsic need to learn from others. To hear stories. Since our hunter gatherer days, we have connected by sharing stories and learning from the experiences of others.
Online communities take this and scale it, removing geographical barriers and allowing us to connect with exactly the right people. Community members engage and join groups or rooms because of the experts they can learn from. And it’s a virtuous cycle, as one member learns from another and then mentors somebody else. Our platform gives them the space to focus on being human, and bringing their unique experiences, expertise and creativity to the table.
Zapnito was developed to improve the human experience, not replace it. Machines cannot achieve what humans can, but they give us more space and better, faster routes to achieving it.
So the future of intelligence is human. Not bots. Not algorithms.