Dr. Martin Trevino
The world is witnessing the pervasive integration of artificial intelligence, or AI, into a wide range of industries. We have reached a transformative stage where AI can soon become a symbiotic partner with humans—a stage reached partly because of our comprehension of the intricacies of human decision-making processes. In its current state, AI is emerging as a collaborative force, complementing human intellect in problem-solving, decision-making, and value generation. Our evolving comprehension of trust and the strategic employment of technology is crucial, experts say, in harnessing the symbiotic relationship between humans and rapidly advancing AI.
With his background in cyberintelligence, Dr. Martin Trevino sits at the forefront of the interplay between data, analytics, and the human psyche. As a former cyberspy for the National Security Agency (NSA), Dr. Trevino led technical and analytical teams for the US government. Now serving as a scientist, tech executive, and strategic advisor, he guides teams as they advance new models in advanced analytics and AI. Throughout his work, he provides insight into human and AI complementarity by studying how the human brain makes decisions, trusts data, and interacts with it.
What is the current state of the Human-AI relationship?
Dr. Trevino: AI has now become capable of functioning as a true symbiotic partner to us in solving problems and creating value in innovating, designing, and increasing our productivity. The body of knowledge across cognitive neuroscience has given us a deep enough understanding of how the human brain makes decisions, especially high-risk decisions, with data and analytics, and how we trust and utilize technology.
We are entering a new age—the inflection point. We are at the point where we are now able to create new models of human and artificial intelligence complementarity to solve problems and create value in disproportionate ways than what’s been possible before. We are developing an ever-growing understanding of the new models of human AI complementarity. They will be at the central pillars of current organizational goals, digital transformation, and DX efforts. We will see the creation of new firms, their valuation, and how they can solve what, today, are unsolvable problems. We have reached the inflection point where these things converge and will enable us to do wonderful things.
The best firms will have new human/technology complementarity models at the heart of their business models. This a priori tenet is critical to understand as we live in a “Power Law” world. Venture capitalists and C-suite officers will see returns in order of magnitude to their investments if they can get these new models right.
How does human psychology play into AI’s development?
Trevino: We began in the wrong place in our desire to get value out of data, technology, and AI; we began with the data and technology, focusing on the methods, models, and math when we should have begun with a deep understanding of how the brain makes decisions with data and trusts technology. If you believe that complementarity is at the heart of our future, then understanding the human brain is essential to our digital transformation efforts, solving problems and thus creating value. Along with prioritizing our gathering of data, developing new ML training models, and developing advanced analytics, developing a deep understanding of perception and cognition are critical to maximizing innovation, productivity, and thus value.
A prime example of the benefits of this deep understanding is knowing the types of decisions the brain resists with data. High levels of complex reasoning characterize high-order decision-making; an example is mergers and acquisitions or strategy. The brain resists data automatically when the problem is unstructured and the stakes are high. With certain types of decisions, the amount of stress or danger from the outcome fundamentally changes how we trust technology. Whether it be a risk to your career, reputation, or personal life, the human mind often resists trusting data in these situations.
We accept and deny data and technology in very specific ways. Acceptance or denial depends on our internal models, belief systems, cognitive abilities, state and trade psychology, and world perceptions. Our detailed understanding of how the brain is structured tells us it is no longer enough to provide decision-makers with access to data and analytics in self-service platforms and expect data-driven decisions to be made. New models of complementarity will greatly advance our situational awareness and understanding and fulfill our dreams of embedding data-driven decision-making into the DNA of an organization.
What is your view on the misconception of competition with AI?
Trevino: What we have now is advanced information processing and synthesizing systems, and AI functions in no way, shape, or form like the human brain. The terms “artificial intelligence” and even “machine learning” don’t accurately describe the capabilities. Humans and computers are vastly different, but they are uniquely complementary. H/AI C(x) (Human/AI Complementarity)
AI is a unique symbiotic partner to us in that we do not compete with AI in the workplace. Human AI complementarity will underpin a disproportionate amount of the value, innovation, and great things that come to pass for humanity. All the current models of AI training that are known today do not in any way function as the human brain does. The human brain is the only unique device for generic problem-solving.
And at the center of that is the realization that humans and AI are acutely different but uniquely complementary. It’s a symbiotic, non-competitive relationship because we don’t compete with computers for anything while gaining so much from engaging with them.
What are the current models affecting human and AI collaboration?
Trevino: We have approached data-driven decision-making, digital transformation, and even the creation of AI from a technology-and-data perspective versus a human-centric perspective. Today, we approach this challenge from a deep understanding of how humans interact, trust, and make decisions with these beautiful things.
Embracing a cognitive neuro-understanding of the human brain is essential in pursuing digital transformation by enabling humans and computers to do what they do best while maximizing human-computer synergy. Along with good data, new algorithms, and better training models, we need a deep understanding of the human brain from a conscious and behavioral perspective. By accounting for the fallibilities in human cognition, we can gain valuable insight into the dynamics of trust between humans and technology. Ultimately, this understanding paves the way for a more nuanced approach to collaboration between sentient humans and technology.
We are at an inflection point where novel human/AI complementarity avenues are being created and fundamentally altering our cyber-physical world. Using this complementarity as an a priori tenet for DX and investments can be at the heart of every company and the foundation for solving problems and creating value in unprecedented ways.
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