Human Intelligence and Artificial Intelligence – Working Together

We have all heard of Artificial Intelligence, or AI. Artificial Intelligence describes the intelligence demonstrated in machinery. AI is powerful in automating many tasks, such as analysing data. You can type ‘banana’ into your Google Photos library – and every photo with a banana will be listed. I had about a dozen – mostly of fruit markets or of people baking banana cakes. This result occurs from Google analysing every photo I have ever taken (and using that intelligence for its advertising purposes).

I am sure you have all seen the latest Terminator movie. Or the Matrix. And you probably know that Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking and lots of other very smart Humans are warning us: keep Human Intelligence on top. You can see the AI Open Letter to the World – watch out!

Truly, what the world needs more of and what Urban Circus strives to support is Human Intelligence (HI), including Emotional Intelligence. What we don’t want is to turn humans into a bunch of consumerist-bots, ever manipulated for commercial ends as per the Surveillance Capitalism agenda of much AI-based advertising (I have linked the audible book Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff – very revealing).

Diverse Human Intelligence helps how we interact, the way we work and how we create together. Human actions and intelligence can be ‘augmented’ by computers and machines – but there are many parts of society where it is best left to the Humans to analyse and make decisions.

Human Intelligence describes the multitude of cognitive abilities we all possess such as problem solving, learning, critical thinking and reasoning. Our Human Intelligence has been evolving and adapting for millions of years. Throughout our history, our Intelligence has been honed to enable our survival on this beautiful planet, to avoid getting eaten by lions and tigers, dying of exposure or pandemics – and keeping food and water supplies close by.

In Evolutionary Psychology we learn how preferences for spaces and elements in our environment are pretty universal, across cultures. For example:

  • People heal better when they can see just one tree from their hospital window, compared to no trees.
  • People sit with their back against walls and like a food source in front of them – obvious in any piazza anywhere.
  • People prefer enclosed spaces, protecting them from exposure, with much social overlooking and multiple escape routes – to runaway from any tigers. Again, typical of preferred streets we holiday too from Firenze to Saint Petersburg.

This is how our humanity has adapted. And this is why we often holiday to very ‘impractical’ places like Venice – full of beauty, mystery and wonder. No engineer or modern design standard would ever let a Venice laneway be built – yet 4 million people visit a year.

If you let computers and engineering systems completely design cities, you might find we end up with the box-like townscapes of modernist cities. Combined with neo-liberal market economics and regulation stacking – the humanness of our places suffer – and the humanity of society as a result.

With modernism, we were exposed to the notions of ‘cities as a machine’ and ‘systems thinking’ dominating urban frameworks, engineering and architecture. This created many modern ghettos we avoid today, if we can. This concept that computerised, mechanised thinking is better than human thinking is some fantasy that persists, typically in male technocratic heads.

AI-design is a worry. Software now creates 2,000 proposals for a site in 20 nanoseconds. Yet where is the heart? Where is the soul in our places? If you want a future without soul, without spirit and magic – then yes, let AI unleash itself. We often see more humanity in a street built by horse and cart in the 16th Century, than in many modern environments.

We are very proud to have shown this outcome of modern design in many scenarios in urban development. Where the AI and software has created the ‘best’ (cheapest) design – our use of computers combined with the soul of our mission for a better future, has made it clear, using visualisation and innate visual intelligence – that this infrastructure or building, designed like this, will rip the soul and humanity out of this place. We have then helped provide a context-sensitive process to build efficiency with humanity to support clients and technical experts to create truly astounding solutions.

Letting computers design your cities can ultimately end in uniformity and monotony. An efficient city is a series of tall box-buildings on a near infinite flat expanse of line-painted bitumen. Or as proposed by Le Corbusier, one of the leading figures of city design in the 20th Century, roads floating on the rooftops of these buildings. It created a banal disaster we still are paying for today in so many places.

‘Place making’ is very much a craft, verging on an art, with plenty of science-based constraints to control it. Place making around infrastructure and modern linear disruptions requires particular artfulness to avoid creating the under-highway slums or the easy-rape stairwells of the past 50 years.

This is where Urban Circus is using computer intelligence, sometimes with Artificial Intelligence, to augment the Human Intelligence of wise civic leaders. Premiers, ministers and major project directors with a heart for community and legacy are being empowered with high levels of integrated vision and the ability to craft, reshape, mould and experience urban space from the lens of Human Intelligence.

These spaces become much more human and integrated. Often starting as functionalist and ‘intelligent’ from a ‘systems design’ viewpoint, they are often brutal, disconnected and unnerving from a human viewpoint. Yes, we need the trains to stay on the tracks, but the opportunity to value add to create incredible civic value under and around these massively expensive infrastructure projects is sadly missed.

Taking the approach of ‘sticking on’ urban design after the major decisions are made is another sore loss. You can see the cities who do this – large slabs of concrete flying through the air, with some pretty colours pasted on and expensive lighting to make it shinier.

One of many cases was the Hale Street Bridge, now the Go-Between Bridge, in Brisbane. A functional piece of efficient civil traffic engineering to be sure. When Urban Circus began to facilitate the integration, too late in the day, but the project director was taken for a human walk along the pedestrian path and told to remember the humidity of a Brisbane February. We were able to get a functional pedestrian canopy added to the pedestrian path – at least somewhat more humane. We also highlighted that by nudging the bridge a little to the left, against the engineer’s and computer’s wishes, would release a sizable piece of develop-able land with significant economic returns. And now we can see a 10-storey residential riverfront development with great bridge access!

There are hundreds of examples of Human Intelligence and urban integration benefits we are happy to share with you, just call. We have helped smart clients drive incredible results and ‘herd the chickens’ as they say. Melbourne with its often beautiful integration is an example where we do so much urban infrastructure development and integration support.

Similarly, with training and learning. It is Human Intelligence clients are seeking to improve. It is our humans we want to be smarter, more capable and knowledgeable about their work and your organisation. Using Augmented or Virtual Realities, training and induction films in 2D and 3D – we are driving not just the culture and brand loyalty of these organisations – but the safety and readiness of the workers. Their Human Intelligence is enhanced.

We use technology and data to help humans communicate, make decisions and integrate. When designing, constructing or delivering a project – so many decisions are based around subtle interactions, convergences or collaborations between humans or between humans and technology. This cannot be understood, yet, by AI. It is vital to support human intelligence with the use of AI. Humans on top.

Message me to ask how we can help today.

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