My eldest daughter just graduated from High School in these messy Corona times. After months of web seminars and studying from home, the younger generation that she represents and the rest of us, have started building up a new experience of collaborating on-line. We do not have to travel that much in order to collaborate today. I have more meetings and more effective meetings with colleagues and clients even though we sometimes must meet IRL. So far, there are no good substitutes to a large 6 ft x 20 ft whiteboard, since the screens are still quite small, and we do not yet have an effective way of interacting efficiently in virtual reality that is generally available.

When I look back at the time when I graduated from High School it was very different times. Mobile phones were not widely used since they were not that mobile after all and they cost a fortune. Computers were rare and had the fraction of the performance of a modern mobile phone. Just some ten years later the Internet was known to the public and another ten, the iPhone was born setting new standards for communication and knowledge exchange.

“the question is how to store these massive amounts of generated data and how to take advantage of it”

We are constantly improving technology performance and we are getting better and better of utilizing the potential of the technology. With IoT, Internet of Things, we will have the capability of generating information from all sorts of technical components, but the question is how to store these massive amounts of generated data and how to take advantage of it.

Artificial Intelligence might be one solution. However, it needs to be trained in order to excel and for that purpose it needs high quality data. As an example, a neural network was trained to identify the difference between dogs and wolfs and was fed with thousands of images. However, it erroneously identified a husky as a wolf, not because of the looks but because the husky was standing in snow, like all the wolfs did. So, the learning from this, I guess, is that human knowledge is needed in the foreseeable future to control and oversee the technology and secure the outcome. In the husky case it might have been an idea to identify a learning strategy that included that presence of snow is not related to the wolf prediction.

“Digital Twin Technology, where knowledge workers are enhanced to create greater business value”

I believe that Augmented Intelligence or Intelligence Amplification (IA) is the next big thing were we humans are better supported by innovative technology. Such an innovative technology is the Digital Twin Technology, where knowledge workers are enhanced to create greater business value. With Digital Twins they will be able to depict and simulate physical objects as well as complete organizations and their business based on structured human knowledge and expertise. But there will most likely always be a human element, to get to all the new insights. The reason for this is that AGI, Artificial General Intelligence is still a hypothesis and a dream, not to mention ASI, Artificial Super Intelligence that would be equal or even out-perform human intelligence.

However, a plausible next step on the way might be utilizing the power of the Digital Twin Technology. With this, human expertise and knowledge can be captured and stored, acting as a complement in training neural networks that would most likely, significantly lower the amount of needed data and improve the outcome in terms of quality. Still this is a way of improving AI that solves a specific predefined business problem. The issue of creating a winning strategy or any other complicated business task that requires knowledge, competence, experience and most of all creativity, thinking out of the box, will still need human intervention but the technology like the Digital Twin Technology are significantly improving us humans. So, with this improved innovative power what will the future thirty years from now look like? What will be the new revolutionary inventions like the Internet and iPhone?

Christian Brandt
Senior Consultant at Ortelius.