Human centered AI and what it actually means
Maya Pindeus
November 5, 2020

“There is a fundamental distinction between approaches to designing technology to benefit humans and designing technology as an end in itself…”

John Markoff, Machines of Loving Grace

Humanising Autonomy_Human centered AI and what it actually means_1
Changing the way machines understand people

Layers of invisible technology are touching every aspect of our daily lives, from tapping into transport networks on our commute, to paying at self checkout systems. We order goods that were manufactured in a factory by robotic systems and delivered at our convenience, all at the push of a button. Society is only at the beginning of a major transformation enabled by Artificial Intelligence, introducing automated systems and robotics that will have a lasting impact on every sector: from mobility and manufacturing to consumer electronics. 


Underpinning this movement is human centred Artificial Intelligence. 

What does human centred AI actually mean? Put simply, it means people should come first when building infrastructure, designing transportation systems and in introducing automated systems with artificial intelligence to our everyday lives. As the predictive layer that powers interaction between machines and people, it is essential that this layer is intuitive to human behaviour, not ignorant of it. Human-centred AI is about advocating a people centric approach to technology – one that can be translated to all aspects of life, where people live, work and play: at home, in the office, on our commute or at street level.

Current systems could do a much better job in terms of human interactions. There is scope to truly enhance our communities and the safety of our cities. The promise of the fourth industrial revolution promises much in terms of ROI, improving aspects of the supply chain – cutting costs, improving efficiency and minimising downtime.

However, internal documents from an Amazon Warehouse show that distribution centres with more robotics have higher levels of injury, not lower as the company had intended. A similar pattern can be seen on our streets: public trust of autonomous vehicles is low. In a recent survey by Intelligent Car Leasing, only 17 per cent of British adults would feel safe in an autonomous vehicle, with 41 per cent of respondents citing “I wouldn’t trust the technology” as the key reason for their trepidation. 

These patterns can be reversed. We founded Humanising Autonomy out of a deep belief that human centred Artificial Intelligence will play a crucial role in enabling a sustainable introduction of automation. One that builds trust between people and machines, creates safer and more efficient environments and ensures that the cities of tomorrow are cities for people. Central to our core product offering is what we call the “human intention engine”, an invisible predictive AI layer that is built in at systems level and powers the interactions between machines and people. This is how we define our cross industry approach to human-centred AI, with the mission to ensure that every machine is optimised not only to meet human needs, but anticipate them, to act in the most intuitive way possible. 

To illustrate this mission across the industries we’re most passionate about, Humanising Autonomy is thrilled to kick off a guest blog series featuring thought leaders from various companies to share their perspectives on how a human centric approach can be implemented at scale – starting with Smart Cities: Cities for people. This series will be centred around three core pillars: multi modality, data insights and urban planning. We are bringing together thought leaders from Siemens, Perkins and Will and Volkswagen to share their thoughts over the next few weeks. 

Stay tuned! Interested in taking part? Email [email protected] for more insight.

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