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By  Emma Schleiger Alice Trend 4 July 2023 3 min read

Key points

  • Collaborative intelligence combines human capabilities with AI to achieve better outcomes in various fields.
  • These examples show collaborative intelligence in action from search and rescue missions to healthcare.
  • The future of collaborative intelligence holds endless possibilities for improving workflows and responsible AI deployment.

You may have heard artificial intelligence (AI) could take your job. But what if AI could actually make you better at your work?

When you work with AI, you can create something better together than either of you could alone. This is collaborative intelligence.

Imagine working alongside an AI system on a shared task, either virtually, or in a cyber-physical form. It's like having a smart robotic sidekick.

By combining uniquely human capabilities – like intuition, judgement, and creativity – with AI’s computational power and data processing skills, we can create a whole new workplace.

Our team of our research scientists, Emma Schleiger, Claire Mason, Claire Naughtin, Andrew Reeson and Cecile Paris searched the world for examples of true collaborative intelligence. They found 16 examples happening right now. They all involve AI and humans working together on shared tasks.

Here are six examples of collaborative intelligence.

Smart drones help search and rescue superheros

When it comes to search and rescue missions, humans now have some high-tech help. Smart, semiautonomous drones work alongside human teams to bring people home safely. DroneResponse provides emergency responders with a user-friendly interface allowing a team of smart drones to scan terrain and deliver immediate support.

Collaborative intelligence is the key to getting those most out of humans and AI

Creating chilling collaborative chronicles

The ongoing writers' strike in the US highlights concerns about the future of work for writers. Instead of replacing writers, AI could instead enhance their work. By combining AI’s capabilities with human creativity, we can take storytelling to new heights. The horror-fying Shelley AI bot is one example. Shelly tweets short horror story ideas and invites people to create collaborative horror tales. It can even respond to Twitter users’ suggestions.

Shelley by MIT is the world’s first collaborative AI horror writer. Image created in collaboration with DALL-E

Harmonious hits for musical maestros

Flow Machines Professional helps musicians collaborate with AI to create original compositions. Struck writer’s block on your song? You can feed your music ideas and inspiration into the AI. It will generate new melodies, accompaniments and instrumentation to help you finish your next hit.

High-five for helper robots

ARMAR-6 is a humanoid robot that really has your back. This robotic co-worker can sense when workers need help and step-in to help, whether it's lifting heavy objects or using tools like power drills or hammers.

The future of our work involves collaboration with AI. This image was made in collaboration with DALL-E.

Powering up pathology

The Human Augmenting Labelling System (HALS) helps pathologists identify problems with cells. HALS suggests labels or annotations for medical images and specimens. It also learns from your responses. By speeding up repetitive tasks, HALS improves accuracy and efficiency without replacing the pathologist's expertise.

A prescription for better health care

The SAGE patient management system also highlights collaborative intelligence in healthcare. SAGE goes beyond traditional AI systems to help find inconsistencies and contradictions to improve patient diagnosis and treatment. The visual interface enables the human medical practitioners and AI to work together to make better decisions. With SAGE, biases are reduced, doctors feel more confident in their decisions and patient care is improved.

These projects show collaborative intelligence is already happening. As AI continues to evolve and improve its understanding and communication with humans, the possibilities are endless.

Check out the full list of collaboratively intelligent AI products the team found in their research paper.

As we boldly go where few humans have gone before, we must design the best workflow between humans and AI. As well as ensuring we create and deploy AI in a responsible way.

Our Collaborative Intelligence (CINTEL) Future Science Platform and responsible AI research teams are focused on these goals.

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