Sub-Optimising Human Intellegence Landscape

18th March 2022

ARE WE CONTROLLED BY OUR DATA?

Our brains thrive on challenge

We are designed to explore, create and iterate, often with other people. We’re curious and creative, we debate and disagree, it’s these innate human characteristics that enable amazing things to happen. Yes, we now live in a digitally advanced world, data is undoubtedly one of our most precious assets, but what about us? Is this extreme progress suppressing our innate skills or exploiting and growing them?

Inspirational Netflix CMO Bozoma Saint John alluded to this in a recent TED conference, discussing her experiences and advice when it comes to decision making. Despite being a prominent leader in what is a highly data-centric tech business, she places huge emphasis on good old fashioned human intuition.

“Your intuition is a gift”, says Saint John. “All too often, we make decisions based solely on the data, thinking of it as a magical, more convenient shortcut to the right answer. But when we rely too heavily on numbers and facts alone, we sacrifice creativity and can miss out on our best ideas.

Innovation occurs when leaders take a step back and use their instincts to push boundaries. “Ideas are based off of electricity. They sprint here and they go here and they move there; they’re non-linear. They’re like daydreams, and intuition gets you there.”

Nicely put.

 “All too often, we make decisions based solely on the data, thinking of it as a magical, more convenient shortcut to the right answer. But when we rely too heavily on numbers and facts alone, we sacrifice creativity and can miss out on our best ideas.

Bozoma Saint John - CMO Netflix

The Role of Data and Technology

So on the one hand data is undeniably a crucial asset for any business. On the other, it alone shouldn’t stifle us or override our ability to harness our fundamental human instincts.

Data isn’t the decision, it’s a participant within the decision making journey. The opportunity therefore lies in creating ways that data can naturally blend into and amplify that overall experience for us.

This is where the tech industry is falling short.

The innovation has been staggering, and you need the advancements and artificial intelligence to cope with the demands data is placing on the modern business. No debate about that. However if the goal is more computer and less human then there is a line, which when crossed starts to alienate and disconnect the very people the tech is there to help.

Today, we find ourselves in a ‘data-to-dashboard’ ecosystem, where decision makers are simply consumers of content pre-prepared and presented to them – either automatically by the tech, or by the specialists who can operate it. Beneath this veneer there is a black box, a complex world only understandable by specialists, which decision makers are being asked to trust.

None of this is conducive to the kind of human experience we’ve been talking about. It does not enable discussion or creativity, in fact it creates complete detachment and forbids it.

What is the future?

It’s these big issues companies like Hublsoft are tackling through reimagining the data experience. We’ve transformed the approach and built new technology - smart and sophisticated yes, but with a new brain-friendly face. You become a creator, not a consumer, able to use your native skills to drive understanding and own outcomes.

And we are just witnessing the market waking up to this. We’re seeing new attempts to place far more emphasis on human-centricity, finding ways to elevate the role of the human. We are seeing a shift in how AI is being positioned, and the focus on human experiences. Rather than being designed to operate independently or replace humans, the remit is to complement and enhance human intelligence and knowledge.

Absolutely the right direction.

The irony of course in citing Netflix is not lost – a hugely data-dependent tech business, fuelled by their top-secret recommendation algorithms. That said, they only recommend, they don’t make the decision for us. We can go off and explore and decide to watch something else. We choose. This is I guess the subtle but important point. Imagine if we only ever played what the Netflix algorithm tells us to play… would never work would it? Is the day coming?

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