Investing in artificial intelligence is a big step forward for any program, department, or agency. The most difficult part for many key stakeholders is determining where and how that investment is directed.

What is the problem that is being solved?

The last three decades have seen an ebb and flow of interest in artificial intelligence and the development of related technologies. The boom of the late ‘80s ended with an “AI winter” and left many of the capability pioneers scrambling to find other niches to fill.

These companies had largely focused on the development of high-level applications of AI technology – and used expensive, esoteric hardware designed to solve numerous problems – the classic jack of all trades, master of none concept.

The hype surrounding AI will be very impactful on its future. Without focusing AI to solve specific problems, the recent resurgence of interest in AI has the potential to fall into another “winter”. Companies that say they’re “doing AI” are popping up daily – many without targeted goals.

AI is an enhancement, not a replacement.

Applying AI to improve the quality, speed, and veracity of work done by humans is a perfect match. Taking the best aspects of human cognition, including our ability to reason, and injecting AI’s strength of rapidly collecting, conditioning, extracting, and analyzing data is a perfect way to solve problems with more efficiency and provide high levels of confidence in decision-making.

Artificial intelligence is, after all, a simulation of human intelligence with the processing power of computers. Use AI to enhance the workforce, not replace it.

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