We humans have a finite speed at which we can think, analyze and make decisions. We can only focus on a small set of data before we are overwhelmed. When important decisions must be made, our brains need time, significant time, to weigh all the variables, pros and cons and possible outcomes in order to arrive at a good decision. In times of high stress where making fast decisions is required, many of us don’t perform at our peak. In addition, weak humans that we are - need sleep. We are not always available; we require daily downtime in order to function.
Humans operate in human time, a biological time influenced by the environment and universe that we live in. Computers, though, are not subject to these human limitations and can act on algorithms and pre-determined decision trees 24/7 in milliseconds.
Human time challenges and limitations are not going away. As IoT sensors and mobile devices proliferate, so also does the volume of real-time data and required analysis. Humans, already at their limit, must somehow augment their capabilities to handle the massive increases in the volume and complexity of data. Many believe, as do I, that the competitive marketplaces of today and tomorrow will be won by those with better and faster information logistics systems. Systems that can collect larger quantities of data, analyze and execute relevant actions faster.
The new F-35 fighter jet in the USA’s arsenal has over 24 million lines of software code running it. Why? It requires sensors, computers and software just to keep it in the air. Code is required to process all the data fast enough to augment the pilot’s skills. In addition, the F-35 comes with a $500,000 custom helmet that provides a 360-degree view of the operational environment, and displays so much data pilots have reported suffering dizziness from information overload. We have hit the wall of human capabilities, and we are only getting started.
The late military strategist and US Air force Colonel John Boyd, taught a key advantage in air combat was to get “inside” an opponent's decision curve. That means to understand the true situation faster, and then make better decisions quicker than an opponent. He taught that humans need a simple formula for quick thinking. His formula was OODA (observe, orient, decide and act). He taught a continuous cycle of observing a situation, orienting or understanding it, deciding what needs to happen and then acting quickly. He taught that competitors executing OODA cycles faster than opponents had the advantage. The OODA quick thinking process is proven, and has now made the leap from human time to computer time via artificial intelligence.
The leap from human time to computer time has relevance in business today, especially in the age of Mobile Me, where consumer’s expectations for mobile app performances demand instant responses. Mobile apps and real-time consumer interactions are now in the realm of the F-35. Consumers today demand more real-time information processing, decision-making and business process execution than are humanly possible without computer and software augmentation operating beyond the limitations of human time, and into the future of computer time.
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