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Collaboration (IHMC): Intelligent Collaboration Between Man and Machine

By Dick Weisinger

Machines can outclass humans in a number of areas, particularly in performing fast computations, but even today’s state-of-the-art computers don’t really think and aren’t that much help when it comes to generating new ideas.  But what happens when human ingenuity is paired with artificial intelligence and machine computations?  Scientists are finding that if they closely align machines and humans to work together, it is possible to solve very complex problems.

The goals of this approach, Intelligent Human-Machine Collaboration (IHMC), include the following:

  • Divide work into those tasks that are best done by machines and those best performed by humans
  • Machines take on the role of partner rather than tool
  • Human abilities are extended and amplified by technology to know, perceive and collaborate
  • Humans and machines can work synergistically together to be able to solve complex problems

One example of how human-machines can work together is within a simulation environment.  Scientists create environments that humans can interactively use to simulate new processes.  For example, an engineer could define a new engine within the simulation environment and which can pass off to the computer a design that can be used to run through various simulations. From that, it is possible to determine how the engine functions under different fuel combinations and usage scenarios.

Another example is an experiment run in 2011 where human users used a application that was used like a game that let them manipulate a simulation of the folding the molecular structure of a virus.  Using the game and assisted machine simulation, scientists were able to identify the correct virus crystal structure for a virus that causes AIDs in monkeys.  It took just ten days — scientists hadn’t been able to solve the problem for the previous fifteen years.

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