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How A.I. is making the future of work more human than ever
Where will you work in the future? As automation revs its engine, we may have overlooked a vast middle ground where human intelligence and machine intelligence collaborate.
Paul Daugherty is Accenture’s chief technology & innovation officer and leads the company’s Technology Innovation & Ecosystem group. In addition to overseeing Accenture’s technology strategy, Mr. Daugherty has responsibility for driving innovation through R&D activities in Accenture’s Labs and leveraging emerging technologies to bring the newest innovations to clients globally.
He founded and oversees Accenture Ventures, which is focused on strategic equity investments and open innovation to accelerate growth. He also leads the company’s large group of highly skilled, certified technology architects, who apply new technologies and architectural foundations in building solutions for clients across industries.
Mr. Daugherty has played a key role in evolving Accenture’s technology business to respond to the changes in the industry. He developed the Digital Business vision and helped shape Accenture’s early moves to establish its digital business leadership. He founded Accenture’s cloud computing business and was instrumental in launching Accenture’s SaaS, big data and open source businesses, and played a key role in the company’s technology business during the major transitions to client/server computing and internet-based computing.
Mr. Daugherty is a passionate advocate for gender equality in the workplace and sponsoring STEM-related inclusion & diversity initiatives. He is a frequent speaker at conferences on industry and technology issues, and has published articles in a variety of publications. He sponsors Accenture’s technology initiatives with the World Economic Forum. Mr. Daugherty also serves as chairman of the board of Avanade, the leading provider of Microsoft technology services. He is on the board of directors for Girls Who Code, Accenture Global Services Limited and the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley. He is on the advisory boards for Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan and Answer ALS, where he serves as its Infrastructure and Technology Committee Lead. Mr. Daugherty helped found the advisory board of the Academy of Information Technology, a non-profit that works to boost IT careers for youth. In addition, he sponsors Accenture’s partnership with Code.org which is focused on bringing Computer Science education to students around the world.
Paul Daugherty: One of our fundamental premises with 'Human + Machine' is really the “plus” part of human plus machine.
There’s been a lot of this dialogue about polarizing extremes, that the machines can do certain things and humans can do certain things, and as a result we end up with this battle, kind of pitting what the machines will do versus the humans. We think that creates the wrong dynamics.
So with 'Human + Machine' we’re trying to reframe the dialogue to: what’s the real interesting space, and really the big space, where humans and machines collaborate—we call it collaborative intelligence—and come together and help provide people with better tools powered by A.I. to do what they do more effectively?
And if you think about it that way, we really believe that with A.I. we’re not moving into a more machine-oriented age, we’re actually moving into an age that’s a more human age, where we can accentuate what makes us human, empowered by more powerful tools that are more humanlike in their ability, and that creates these new types of jobs.
So we call that the 'missing middle' because there hasn’t been a lot of discussion about these jobs in the middle where people and machines collaborate. And we’ve come up with two sets of jobs. On one side you have the jobs where people are needed to help machines, and that’s not a category that too many people focus on. We think it’s an important one and I’ll come back to that in a minute. On the other side, we have a set of jobs where machines help people, machines give people new superpowers. And those are the two broad categories of jobs we see in the 'missing middle'.
So in that set of jobs where people are needed to help machines, there are a few interesting, novel, new categories of jobs we found that people don’t often think about and we call those trainers, explainers, and sustainers, and they’re very important things for all organizations to think about as you think about how to deploy artificial intelligence in your organization.
So think about a trainer. What we mean by a trainer is it’s a new type of job where a person is needed to train A.I. or train the machines that we’re using in businesses. We’re not talking about simple things like tagging data for supervised learning—that’s included, but that’s just the start of it. What we’re really talking about here is more sophisticated forms of training that are needed so that our artificial intelligence and our systems behave properly.
For example, for companies we’re working with that are developing chatbots and virtual agents, if you’re a bank you might want a very different type of personality than a media company or a gaming company or a casino, and embodying the personality, the behavior, the culture, the characteristics, the nature of the response in your A.I. is a really important consideration for companies. Because we talk about the idea that with A.I., you know, A.I. becomes the brand of your company because it’s the face of the company and how your company is perceived by your customers. So this idea of a trainer that brings in skills to develop that kind of behavioral response for your A.I. is a really important skill. And we’re hiring people to do these jobs today, people with backgrounds in things like sociology, psychology and other areas. Not a technical skill but a new type of role that’s very important to get A.I. right as you apply it to your organization.
Another type of job where we see people needed to help machines are explainers and sustainers, and I’ll talk about these two a little bit together. Explainers are new roles where we need people in roles where they can explain the implications of artificial intelligence. One thing you hear a lot about is 'black box' A.I.: “AI can’t be explained. We don’t know how it’s operating.” Yes, that’s true for certain forms of A.I., but we need explainers to help us decide: when is it appropriate to use black box A.I. and those types of algorithms, and when do you need to be able to explain how you arrived at a decision? In every organization you’re going to have cases where you need to explain and cases where it’s okay to use more of a black box algorithm. We need explainers to help organizations make those decisions. And then also explainers to step in once a decision has been made to explain the business consequences of it after the fact. So an explainer becomes a very important capability.
And then sustainer is also important. Sustainers are looking at: what are the ongoing implications of using A.I.? Is the A.I. performing as expected? What are some of the rules and policies around how to use A.I. in your company?
And with some of the things that are in the headlines today that we see in recent weeks—things like the tragic circumstance with Uber, with the person being killed tragically in Arizona. Or Facebook in the headlines over what turns out to be legal use of their information under their policy, but a policy that’s being questioned. These are areas where companies need explainers and sustainers to think about not the implementation of the technology but the appropriate use of the technology, the transparency of it, the ability to explain it, and that’s what we’re talking about with the explainer and sustainer roles.
And this isn’t something just for tech companies. Every company is developing digital platforms. They’re using data in novel ways. They’re developing increasingly intrinsic consumer services, customer services and experiences using artificial intelligence and other technologies. So every organization needs to embrace and understand these new roles and these new issues involved in applying A.I. to their organizations.
Now the other side of the 'missing middle' is where machines help people and give people superpowers as we talk about. And there are three categories of jobs we identified here as well based on our research. There are jobs where machines or A.I. amplifies people, so we call it 'amplify'. There are jobs where machines aid in interaction, so the 'interact' category. And then there’s 'embody', which is actual physical interactions: robotics and cobots and such. And those are the jobs where machines and A.I. really empower people and allow them to do more.
To give you an example that we see here that’s interesting is: think about the 'amplify' category. One great example is Autodesk which is design software, AutoCAD, that designers use to do software. It used to be it was very much like engineering drawings, where you had an engineer or designer specifying exactly what they needed. Well, with DreamCatcher, a generative design software using A.I. that Autodesk delivers with AutoCAD, designers can now use A.I. to multiply the power of their creativity. A.I. can amplify their own creativity, come up with thousands of designs based on constraints and parameters that the designer sets, and then the designer’s own creative skills come into play to curate and select and modify those designs to produce a truly unique, human and creative output.
And that’s an example of software and A.I. amplifying the capabilities of an individual, it's a great example of this giving a designer, in this case, the power to do more and do more creatively, leveraging their human skills
You know, a great example of interact and interaction skills where machines can help people is what we see in customer service. We’re seeing a widespread use of virtual agents and chatbots and A.I. technologies like that to help automate and better serve customer needs in many, many industries. But a really interesting use case we’re seeing in many industries is how A.I. and these chatbots can help people serve customers more effectively. How we can use virtual agents to automate the mundane tasks so a customer service worker doesn’t need to spend time typing on a keyboard but can spend time empathizing and communicating with a customer.
One example that we’ve seen is in a banking environment where there’s a lot of compliance rules. And an agent may always be thinking about what are the compliance restrictions, regulations, and looking at their computer and deciding how to do all the compliance as they’re interacting with a customer.
Well, that’s a case where companies are applying virtual agents that are kind of the wingman for the customer service agent, listening to the conversation, watching the transactions, understanding the compliance implications and helping the agent focus their time on the consumer and offloading the compliance-driven obligations. It’s a great example again of the machine partnering with the human to allow the human to do what they do best—empathizing and interacting with the customer—while the A.I. takes on compliance and other transactional activities.
And finally, 'embody' is where you see people working together with physical robotics, so it’s embodying the physical capability of people along with robotics. One example that we talk about in the book that I think is a powerful illustration of this is Mercedes with its new S- Class factory. The S-Class vehicles—Mercedes used to be heavily automated, over 80 percent automated using large-scale, industrialized robots for the factory. What they found was that was too inflexible. It didn’t allow them to be adaptive and flexible and personalized enough to meet the demands of their customers. So Mercedes kind of reverse-engineered the factory, brought more people into the process, equipped the people with cobots that people could dynamically adapt, and added more people to the equation with cobots so that they got more personalization, better productivity in the factory than they did in the heavily automated sense. So that’s a great example of using advanced technology, artificial intelligence, robotics combined with people to produce an outcome that was much better for the business, in this case, the manufacturing process.
One of the fusion skills that’s really interesting is judgment integration. Judgment integration is talking about how do we combine the judgment of a person with the judgment of a machine, and combine it together to make the best decision between the two of them? An illustration of why this is important comes from a recent Harvard medical study that they did. They looked at the accuracy of breast cancer/breast tumor detection. It turns out that A.I. right now can detect breast tumor conditions with about 92 percent accuracy. Physicians can do that at about 96 percent accuracy. If you put the two together and give a physician access to the results from the algorithm it’s 99.5 percent accurate.
So it’s the combination of the human plus the machine gives you the best outcome, and we find this in profession across profession.
Where will you work in the future? As automation revs its engine and academic institutions take up megaphones to predict the end of the human workforce, we may have overlooked a vast area of employment where human intelligence and machine intelligence collaborate, says Paul Daugherty, chief technology and innovation officer at Accenture. Daugherty calls this the "missing middle"—an employment-rich zone for people in humanities, STEM, and service jobs. There are three specific kinds of jobs that A.I. is creating right now: trainers, explainers, and sustainers. Here, Daughtery explains each type of job, and delves further into how A.I. will change the future of work for people in design, customer service and medicine. Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
Vaccines find more success in development than any other kind of drug, but have been relatively neglected in recent decades.
Vaccines are more likely to get through clinical trials than any other type of drug — but have been given relatively little pharmaceutical industry support during the last two decades, according to a new study by MIT scholars.
An article in Journal of Bioethical Inquiry raises questions about the goal of these advocacy groups.
- Two-thirds of American consumer advocacy groups are funded by pharmaceutical companies.
- The authors of an article in Journal of Bioethical Inquiry say this compromises their advocacy.
- Groups like the National Alliance on Mental Illness act more like lobbyists than patient advocates.
The Corruption That Brought Prozac to Market — Robert Whitaker, Journalist<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="bea9cff2b25efc18b663a011a679ba16"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UyaJExxFPAE?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Consumer-oriented groups gained steam over the ensuing decades. Their efforts helped inspire the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act after over 100 people (mostly children) died from a sanctioned drug, Sulfanilamide. If not for the hard work of these advocates, this case might have been overlooked.</p><p>Early efforts also focused on the food industry, which was increasingly using chemical preservatives. The origin of Consumer Reports can be found in the consumer advocacy movement. Both the food and drug industries were getting a free pass to experiment on citizens with few repercussions.</p><p>These movements provided a social foundation for important advocacy work in the second half of the century. Female-led groups evolved to focus on women's reproductive rights, AIDS, and mental health. As the authors write, these groups struck a balance between working <em>with</em> and <em>against</em> current trends. Sometimes you need to craft legislation with officials; at other times, you have to rage against the machine with everything you've got. </p><p>Advocacy marked an important turning point in public health (and culture in general). These groups were tired of placating to a medical model that treated the male body as the standard. This wasn't limited to anatomy. As I <a href="https://bigthink.com/coronavirus/pandemic-warnings-rp-eddy" target="_self">wrote about last week</a>, a high-profile 1970s-era conference about the role of women on Wall St featured no women on stage. You can imagine what reproductive health looked like during that time. </p><p>Advocacy groups made real impact in public health. Then the money began pouring in. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"These groups were funded largely by individual donations with some foundation support, but in the late 1980s, newer women's health groups moved to professionalize, effectively splitting the women's health movement."</p><p>A number of groups resist corporate ties to this day, such as the National Women's Heath Network and Breast Cancer Action. Too often, however, groups argue that their existence depends on corporate funding. This can lead to uncomfortable compromises. </p><p>An estimated two-thirds of patient advocacy groups in America accept funds from the pharmaceutical industry. Pharma companies gave <a href="https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s11673-019-09956-8.pdf" target="_blank">at least $116 million</a> to such groups in 2015 alone.</p><p>For example, over a three-year period, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), which was founded by two mothers whose sons suffered from schizophrenia, received nearly $12 million from 18 pharmaceutical companies. The largest donor was Prozac manufacturer, Eli Lilly. By 2008, three-quarters of NAMI's budget was funded by the pharmaceutical industry. It gets worse:</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"An Eli Lilly executive was even 'on loan' to NAMI, paid by Eli Lilly, while he worked out of the NAMI office on 'strategic planning.'"</p>
A customer waiting for his medication at the Headache Bar in a pharmacy in Sydney, Australia. Among the items on sale are 'Paigees with Chlorophyll' and Alka Seltzer on tap.
Photo by Dennis Rowe/BIPs/Getty Images<p>This influx of cash skews public understanding of drugs. It also influences advocates to overlook real problems caused by pharmaceutical interventions, especially when it comes to mental health.<br></p><p>For a real-world example, consider how Xanax came to market. As journalist Robert Whitaker <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2e829xdb4AA" target="_blank">explains</a>, an <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1463502/?page=1" target="_blank">initial study</a> was conducted to determine efficacy in treating panic attacks. After four weeks, Xanax was outperforming placebo, which is common with benzodiazepines over short-term usage. But it wasn't a four-week study; it was a 14-week study.</p><p>At the end of eight weeks, there was no difference in efficacy between Xanax and placebo.</p><p>At the conclusion of the study after 14 weeks, the placebo outperformed Xanax. By a lot.</p><p>Why is Xanax still prescribed for panic attacks? Because the pharmaceutical company, Upjohn, only published the four-week data. The 14-week data was not in its favor. Nearly forty years later, over <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/781816/alprazolam-sodium-prescriptions-number-in-the-us/" target="_blank">25 million</a> Americans receive a prescription despite its <a href="https://drugabuse.com/xanax/effects-use/" target="_blank">long list</a> of side effects and addictive profile. </p><p>As the authors note, many consumers are not aware of how advocacy groups are funded.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"An international study of groups in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and South Africa found that the extent of relationships with industry was inadequately disclosed in websites that addressed ten health conditions: cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, cystic fibrosis, epilepsy, depression, Parkinson's disease, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis."</p><p>That's a tangled web of relationships. Pharmaceutical industry funding negatively impacts the work advocacy groups should be focused on: protecting us. NAMI, for example, claims that as a "natural ally" to the pharmaceutical industry, it helps consumers access "all scientifically proven treatments." When the industry ignores evidence of long-term damage caused by its treatments, you have to wonder what's being advocated. </p><p>Although, as the authors conclude, that question is easy to answer. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Instead of drawing insights from patient experience to set organizational agendas and challenge industry agendas, today's groups are silent on high prices and drug harms, oppose efforts to regulate these basic rights, and demand access to drugs that challenge the safety and effectiveness."</p><p><span></span>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Health officials in China reported that a man was infected with bubonic plague, the infectious disease that caused the Black Death.
- The case was reported in the city of Bayannur, which has issued a level-three plague prevention warning.
- Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
- Chinese health officials are also monitoring a newly discovered type of swine flu that has the potential to develop into a pandemic virus.
Bacteria under microscope
needpix.com<p>Today, bubonic plague can be treated effectively with antibiotics.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Unlike in the 14th century, we now have an understanding of how this disease is transmitted," Dr. Shanthi Kappagoda, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care, told <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">Healthline</a>. "We know how to prevent it — avoid handling sick or dead animals in areas where there is transmission. We are also able to treat patients who are infected with effective antibiotics, and can give antibiotics to people who may have been exposed to the bacteria [and] prevent them [from] getting sick."</p>
This plague patient is displaying a swollen, ruptured inguinal lymph node, or buboe.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention<p>Still, hundreds of people develop bubonic plague every year. In the U.S., a handful of cases occur annually, particularly in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/plague/faq/index.html" target="_blank">where habitats allow the bacteria to spread more easily among wild rodent populations</a>. But these cases are very rare, mainly because you need to be in close contact with rodents in order to get infected. And though plague can spread from human to human, this <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">only occurs with pneumonic plague</a>, and transmission is also rare.</p>
A new swine flu in China<p>Last week, researchers in China also reported another public health concern: a new virus that has "all the essential hallmarks" of a pandemic virus.<br></p><p>In a paper published in the <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/06/23/1921186117" target="_blank">Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</a>, researchers say the virus was discovered in pigs in China, and it descended from the H1N1 virus, commonly called "swine flu." That virus was able to transmit from human to human, and it killed an estimated 151,700 to 575,400 people worldwide from 2009 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p>There's no evidence showing that the new virus can spread from person to person. But the researchers did find that 10 percent of swine workers had been infected by the virus, called G4 reassortant EA H1N1. This level of infectivity raises concerns, because it "greatly enhances the opportunity for virus adaptation in humans and raises concerns for the possible generation of pandemic viruses," the researchers wrote.
Want help raising your kids? Spend more time at church, says new study.
- Religious people tend to have more children than secular people, but why remains unknown.
- A new study suggests that the social circles provided by regular church going make raising kids easier.
- Conversely, having a large secular social group made women less likely to have children.