Augmenting Human Innovation with Social Cognition

Social Media is everywhere: photos, videos, news, blogs, art, music, games… even business, finance, healthcare, government, design, and other serious applications are going social. These social media gave given rise to Social Cognition. What began with sharing has moved to creation. Consumers have become producers, and commerce has become a conversation.

Due to these conversations, individuals are no longer alone; whether you’re making a life decision, solving a critical business problem, or merely looking for a restaurant, your social graphs are available to augment your decision making process. These graphs have no geographic boundaries; professional networks are worldwide, and information streams from far corners of the globe into the palm of your hand.

Beyond media and commerce, the next big disruption is innovation. Humans everywhere want to innovate, and Social Cognition can augment human innovation in many everyday and expert domains.

I discuss three human capabilities that are amenable to social augmentation: problem solving, learning, and creativity. I illustrate them with challenge problems from my work: 1) healthcare: helping consumers find relevant health information without search; 2) energy: helping experts troubleshoot complex turbine failures; 3) learning: scaling education to a hundred million people; and 4) creativity: enabling average users to create artificial intelligence agents without programming, and 2) learning: scaling education to a hundred million people.

These technologies blend Cognitive Systems (artificial intelligence) and Cognitive Science (human cognition) in products that both exhibit and support cognition in large-scale social communities. This research not only provides scientific insight but also creates disruptive business opportunities.

Invited talk at PARC, Palo Alto, CA, April 7, 2011.
 
Invited talk at Wright State University, Center of Excellence in Human-Centered Innovation, Dayton, OH, October 24, 2010.
 

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