Human + AI : A cognitive division of labor

What machines do better

  • Machines are much better at statistical reasoning and thereby predictions
  • Machines can churn through huge volumes of data
  • Machines are fast at churning this data
  • Performing routine, repetitive and redundant tasks
  • They can learn new skills quickly and in a distributed way
  • They can operate non-stop

What humans do better

  • Resolving ambiguous information
  • Interpreting unusual and complex information
  • Judgment in determining the payoff or utility of a particular outcome
  • Making moral and ethical choices

Machines helping humans

Machines are great at sifting through large amounts of data. This makes them great at detecting anomalies and generating predictions.

Humans helping machines

People are generally better than machines at making moral and ethical choices as well as analysing and judging complex problems. While an AI can predict better, a human can make better judgements.

Cobots: Human-machine symbiosis

Often humans and machines are seen as adversaries fighting for each other’s jobs. This view however neglects the powerful opportunities in collaboration between the two sides. Imagine a flexible, nimbler robot that works alongside humans to help perform generic, repetitive tasks. Or an algorithm that produces a variety of design options based on the designer’s preferences and goals. The designer can simply select the most optimum option and start using it as a reference or straight up modify it. This idea is sometimes also referred to as ‘Organic AI,’ where machines are flexible and easily partner with humans to perform tasks. Such teams can easily adapt to new data and novel market conditions. The machine can become an extension of the human mind and body.


  1. Superminds: The Surprising Power of People and Computers Thinking
  2. Together Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI
  3. Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence



Closet Zen master. Part cyborg.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store