The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the traditional structures of the working environment. Many companies opted for a successful migration towards a work-from-home model or a hybrid working model.
The ideal of Hybrid Intelligence (HI or hybrid working model) is to combine human capabilities, skills, expertise and knowledge with cutting-edge technology and computer systems to create more efficient systems in a variety of different economic environments. The introduction of computers, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and hybrid working models will terminate many traditional jobs, but at the same time many new career opportunities will arise.
Computing machines and AI became relevant subjects of research and development after WWII when many possibilities were attributed to the use of new generations of smart machines. The development of AI caused uncertainty amongst workers who feared that computers and robots will replace them in the future, but humans and technology do not stand in an either/or relation. The relation is built on teamwork for superior outcomes. Teamwork between man and implements is nothing new, just think of a farm set-up. Farmers make use of innovative farming equipment, high-tech machinery and computerised systems in the modernised agricultural sector.
From green farmlands to the dull office environment… Companies are experimenting more and more with remote working possibilities for employees. Administrative duties, HR tasks and accounting activities, to name but a few, can easily be done from anywhere in the world. The drive towards a paperless environment supported the digitisation of documents and the rapid development of computer software assisted the move away from manual, hands-on duties in the office. The management of companies are exploring work-from-home scenarios from a financial angle as well. Renting less office space and cutting business travel help to curb the budget, but the traditional office remains to be an effective work environment and provides a certain level of interaction which is highly valued by higher levels of management.
Images of the manufacturing plants of automotive companies reveal the closely knitted relation between the activities of humans and pre-programmed robots. Robots work fast and efficient, but the workmanship of humans becomes indispensable when it comes to the trimmings and finishing of the final product. Smart robots are reconceptualising the traditional foundations of teamwork and are taking the hybrid working model closer to the concept of an interactive hybrid human-robot-team. HI ensures a process of continuous learning for both human and artificial agents and this results in the necessity of the cooperation between the two contributors in the working environment.
Human collaboration with developments in robotics leads to a higher rate of productiveness. Artificial intelligence is superior in very different tasks and activities to human intelligence, and vice versa. Computers offer great support in data capturing and data analysis and can be vigilant opponents at playing chess! Other virtues of machine intelligence are: pattern recognition, consistency, classification abilities, speed and efficiency. Humans, though, have the ability to apply knowledge to decision making and can adapt to changing environments. Humans are therefore self-adjusting, creative, flexible, good at planning and also at interpreting arbitrary data. This is known as Moravec’s paradox and it underwrites the reason why hybrid working models are useful in our economies.
AI do not have the capacity to solve complex business problems in organisational contexts and therefore human inference and management skills remain critical in the working environment. The hybrid working model attempts to apply the complementary strengths of human and artificial intelligence to overcome the current limitations existing in the make-up of both types of intelligence. This ensures that the hybrid working model will remain the standard for labour division in the future.