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The Laboratory of Nuclear Studies, Cornell University, 1948. Photo: Bettmann/Getty

The ultimate goal of AI research is a system that rivals a human’s thinking power — but it is still far out of sight.

Instead, in the coming years, AI may provide an intelligence boost in a different way: by coordinating still-unsurpassed human brainpower and correcting some of the errors inherent how we think.

By definition, AI processes information very differently from humans and can combat group-think, says Berkeley’s Ken Goldberg, a robotics expert who directs the university’s People and Robots Initiative.

  • One way to do this is by simply assembling better teams. Algorithms can create groups with complementary skills and qualities, each challenging their peers and filling in others' gaps — like an automated Tinder for work.
  • IBM is developing technology meant to prompt critical thinking in humans, in the form of what Goldberg calls an AI-powered devil’s advocate.
  • In a similar vein, bots will automate humans' better nature, reminding decision-makers about the context and ramifications of their choices, or of potentially false assumptions.

These advances would improve work for the creative class. But for workers whose time is taken up almost entirely by routine tasks, AI may be more threatening than liberating.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

41 mins ago - World

Jimmy Lai among Hong Kong pro-democracy leaders sentenced to prison

Students standing under a banner during a flag raising ceremony on the first annual National Security Education Day in Hong Kong. Photo: Vernon Yuen/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A Hong Kong court sentenced a group of the city's most prominent pro-democracy activists to up to 18 months in prison Friday for organizing a massive unauthorized protest in August 2019 that drew an estimated 1.7 million people, AP reports.

Why it matters: Critics say the sentences send the message that even peaceful pro-democracy activism will be severely punished. They mark a continuation of Beijing's overhaul of Hong Kong's political structure, designed to crack down opposition to the Chinese Communist Party.

Local news moves to the inbox

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A slew of new companies are launching platforms for local newsletters, a shift that could help finally bring the local news industry into the digital era.

Driving the news: Substack, the email publishing platform for independent journalists, on Thursday announced a new local news platform.

J&J vaccine pause hurts its reputation

Reproduced from Economist/YouGov poll; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans' confidence in the safety of Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine took a big dip this week after the pause in its use, per new YouGov polling, even though the risk of blood clots following the shot is extremely low, if it exists at all.

Why it matters: For the majority of people, particularly high-risk Americans, getting the J&J shot is almost certainly less dangerous than remaining vulnerable to the coronavirus.

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