What is Augmented Intelligence and why should you know about it?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) clearly has a promising future in the world of technology and the potential to disrupt practically all industries. Tech companies are beginning to think of AI in a different way, as they understand that higher business value can be achieved by combining human and AI capabilities. So what exactly is Augmented Intelligence?

WHAT is Augmented Intelligence (IA)?

Augmented Intelligence, also referred to as intelligence amplification (IA), cognitive augmentation, decision support, machine augmented intelligence and enhanced intelligence, is in essence, Artificial Intelligence with a twist. While Artificial Intelligence is the creation of machines to work and react like humans, Augmented Intelligence is using those same machines with a different approach – to enhance the human worker. Indeed, Augmented Intelligence involves people and machines working together, playing to their own strengths to achieve greater business value. In other words, the primary objective of IA is to empower humans to work better and smarter.

Why should you know about augmented intelligence?

In the words of Kjell Carlsson, Ph.D., Senior Analyst at Forrester “Augmented Intelligence is the key to driving rapid business value with AI”. Kjell explains that “companies that are making headway with Artificial Intelligence, that are driving new business value quickly and have results to show from it, are usually using AI technologies to make the life of an employee better.” He concludes, “Augmented Intelligence is usually the better approach than using AI to replace human intelligence.”

In recent years, in AI technology rankings in terms of the value they create for businesses, Augmented Intelligence was ranked in second place, just below virtual agents. However, Gartner predicts that “Decision support and AI augmentation will surpass all other types of AI initiatives” creeping into first place this year and then exploding as we reach 2025 becoming around twice as valuable as virtual agents. (see figure 1 below)

Business Value Forecat by AI type: Decision Support / Augmentation, Agents, Decision Automation and Smart Products.
Figure 1

How does Augmented Intelligence work?

Platforms that offer Augmented Intelligence can gather all types of data (both structured and unstructured) from many sources, across disparate and siloed systems and they present that data in a way that gives human workers a complete 360-degree view of each customer. The insight extracted from that data and presented to the user is deeper and greater than ever before. As a result, workers are better informed on what is happening in their industry, what may affect their customers and the opportunities or threats that may arise. Combining this wealth of information with the human touch is what makes this technology so powerful.

Where does Augmented Intelligence fit?

Although it is early days, IA has already had a positive impact on many sectors and the nature of this technology, which learns more, adapts faster and continuously improves with time, means that early adopters do gain an advantage.

Augmented Intelligence systems can transform how all companies engage with their customers through the entire life cycle, including on-boarding, advisory services and customer support.

Let’s look at some possible use cases in various sectors:

Financial services:

Assisting financial planners to offer personalized services based on the customer’s goals, capacity and risk appetite.


Improving the quality of patient care and reducing the likelihood of medical errors while expediting time-consuming procedures like billing and claims.


Increasing shopper engagement and conversion by enabling online shoppers to shop the way they think, using machine cognition of their declared, observed, and inferred behaviors.


Optimizing customer complaint resolution, interaction and feedback analysis.


Aiding and accelerating the generative design process, whereby a human worker inputs the parameters and the machine finds countless ways of designing the object. The machine explores a plethora of options in record time and the human uses their expertise to select the best option, delivering value to customers and boosting efficiency.

Oil and gas:

Optimizing precision drilling. The human worker is able to understand the environment they are operating in more accurately, leading to faster results and less wear, tear and damage to machinery.

The list of possibilities is endless, but the common element is clearly to increase efficiency by heightening the worker’s knowledge. In the words of Ms. Sicular, research vice president at Gartner, “The goal is to be more efficient with automation, while complementing it with a human touch and common sense to manage the risks of decision automation”.

The ultimate goal of Augmented Intelligence systems is to augment the work, expertise and experience of any user from a customer to a field worker to a CEO by empowering them with machines that continually access, interpret, apply, and learn from the meaning hidden within all forms of data.