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Feb 13 2018 |
The essence of collaborative intelligence
By: Aditya Pandey

An aspiring technologist or futurist need only turn to Steve Case’s book, The Third Wave to get a sense of our standing in terms of technological advancement.

Steve broke down the time period since the inception of Internet into three waves. The first wave came in when Internet infrastructure was built from scratch. The second when developers started building applications on top of that infrastructure. And the “Third Wave” is now: and it entails integrating internet into our lives.

Integrating internet into our lives: What does that even mean?

At a recent Google I/O, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google summed up the conference by saying:

“The next technological breakthrough would occur at the intersection of hardware and software with AI at its center”

Google has stepped into a new domain: Hardware with Artificial Intelligence (AI) at its core. In a nutshell, an intelligent or smart device connected to the internet. For e.g. Google Home is a smart speaker and a home assistant – you can even book an Uber through a voice command. This deploys technologies like NLP (Natural Language Processing) and AI. This is one of the several cases that highlight how Internet will integrate into our lives.

And these smart devices like Google Home will facilitate that integration.

Concept of smart devices:

Kevin Kelly, a futurist and founding executive editor of Wired magazine- in his book titled “The Inevitable” frames twelve forces of change that will shape the future. “Cognifying” - Applied intelligence embedded into almost everything - is one such major force. Smart devices are an outcome of this force.

IoT (Internet of Things) is a network of smart devices connected to each other and which talk to each other by share or exchange of data. Stefan Groschupf, CEO of Datameer, identifies IoT as “massive collaborative intelligence”.

A simplistic explanation of IoT is: “It’s like a human brain - but not evolved enough”.

Human brains are hard-wired to process unstructured data (for e.g. visual stimuli in our surroundings) without much effort. Visual stimuli leads to neurons firing or not firing signals through a dense network of interconnected neurons. Likewise, data from devices can lead to a trigger of a flow of events.

Between human brain and IoT, without any doubt there are similarities but we need to be more cautious about dissimilarities that would otherwise potentially wreck the system. Human brain operates within a single entity where the notions of privacy and security do not come to light. The same is not true with the internet.