Symbiosis Homo et Machina (Human-Machine Symbiosis)

The director of the first information office at DARPA was J.C.R. Licklider, who said in 1960: “In not too many years, human brains and computing machines will be coupled together very tightly, and the resulting partnership will think as no human brain has ever thought.”

In the beginning, humans handled all tasks across the data-wisdom spectrum, but with the advent of machines, we recognized how they could help us do things faster, better and cheaper than by ourselves. We started with machines performing low-level data and information processing tasks, freeing humans to concentrate on higher-level endeavors involving knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Going forward, equipping machines with more human-like communication and reasoning capabilities will make it possible for humans to teach and correct machines more effectively as they interact and cooperate on tasks, thereby opening the door to stronger symbiotic partnerships between people and machines. In parallel, technologies must be developed to ensure human trust in machines, which includes trust in data, trust in the software, and trust in the devices and systems running the software.

This talk highlights progress by DARPA’s Information Innovation Office in achieving human-machine symbiosis, or Symbiosis Homo et Machina, as envisioned by Licklider.