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Human-machine Collaboration that will surprise you

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Human-machine Collaboration that will surprise you

There is a lot of talk about how artificial intelligence can change our lives. Most of it focuses on how AI will start ruling the world and destroying humanity. Instead, I encourage you to explore how human beings and AI can change the world. The topic is very wide. However, I would like to show you an example of collaboration you probably have not heard of yet. 

The human mind processes information with or without our conscious engagement. Generally, you need a stimulus lasting more than 0.2s to experience it. Does it mean that anything shorter than 0.2s is undetectable for our brain? The answer is of course NO! A human may not notice things consciously, but our brain responds to the stimulus. It is the same mechanism that makes us close our eyes instinctively when something approaches us quickly or run away from a lion long before we become aware of the danger. 

How can this potential of our subconsciousness be used? 

The US Army began to research the possibilities. They asked a soldier-analyst to look at a series of images and recognize whether the object on the photo is a rocket or a tree. Then they did something brilliant: they connected the soldier-analyst to the EEG and told him to concentrate on what he should be looking for in the pictures (creating intentions). When they showed him the pictures on the screen, each display lasted less than 0.2s, so he could not consciously process them and mark them for further analysis. Photos, however, were marked with an algorithm for analyzing brain activity. 

When there was something in the picture that an analyst was looking for (his intention), the EEG registered it as specific brain activity. The photo was marked and went to further analysis. The result of this experiment was very interesting. The analysis took less time than the same activities performed by a computer program and was often better than the performance of the image classification algorithms. 

Recently, I have also read about the concept that our brain signals, or our subconsciousness, can contribute to keeping road safety by detecting whether the level of our attention is sufficient to drive a vehicle. The above examples show this could be a trend. With the help of new technologies, we may explore our hidden potential even further.

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