Man Vs. Machine: How Will We Coexist In The Data Age?


Could big data and machine learning replace the mundane tasks that we currently pay humans to do? Most certainly. What will it take to balance the data-driven world with a value for human capabilities? FierceBigData’s Pam Baker argues that a future that “maximizes the benefits of AI and automation while minimizing the negative effects” is indeed possible.

In defense of uniquely human capabilities, Baker states:

In the present, I agree with Josh Sullivan, leader of the data science and analytics practice at Booz Allen, who said in a ZDNet post that, “Machines do analytics, humans do analysis. Computers are good at detail and examining the past, but real data science requires imagination and cognitive ability.”

Models and algorithms allow us to make sense of massive quantities of unstructured data, but it’s humans—data scientists, data engineers, and business leaders—that create the context for the models to work. Without humans’ cognitive abilities, predictive intelligence and predictive analytics wouldn’t be nearly as effective.

Baker recognizes that all signs point to an uptick of AI (artificial intelligence) in our near future, citing a recent Pew research report that found that “robotics and artificial intelligence will permeate wide segments of daily life by 2025” and that “48 percent [of survey respondents] predict doom and gloom and 52 percent think human ingenuity will use this technological advancement to humankind’s ultimate benefit.”

Baker urges us to not just accept a “doom and gloom fate,” and instead discuss AI’s potentially negative consequences now and create policies to minimize them. She ends:

Why in this age of big data–when we expect to predict and proactively adapt to any given predicted future to our best interests–are so many people accepting a doom and gloom fate?

At 6sense, we clearly see that the promise of the Data Age is holding forth. What used to be a sea of spreadsheets and pivot tables is now a task that can be processed overnight.

What do you think? How do you envision a future where machines and humans co-exist?

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