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Centaurs and Cyborgs on the Irregular Frontier of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence
The figure above represents the text's question well. You can't get a perfect photo of the characters here. Creation by Midjourney

I know. The title may sound like the title of a science fiction film or an episode of the series "Black Mirror" da Netflix, a series that I plan to write soon and about curious episodes and the "technologies" that emerged later. And whether they are real today.

But back to the text, I saw a post on LinkedIn, from Maikon Schiessl, and republished, by Anderson Palma , about increasing productivity in corporations, using AI:

So, I make a summary of the article to share with you. Today, let's explore the mysterious world of artificial intelligence (AI) and how it is shaping the future of work. Imagine a castle with an irregular wall, some towers forward and others set back towards the center. This wall represents the capabilities of AI, and the further it is from the center, the more difficult the task. This is what we call an "Irregular Border" of AI, a fascinating concept that we will unveil in this article.

The Artificial Intelligence Revolution at Work

For many, AI is an enigma. We don't fully know what advanced language models like GPT-4 are capable of. We don't know the best ways to use them or the conditions under which they fail. There is no instruction manual. In some tasks, AI is incredibly powerful, while in others it fails completely. The question is: how can we navigate this Jagged AI Frontier?

Experiment with Consultants

To unravel this mystery, a group of social scientists, including myself, teamed up with Boston Consulting Group to conduct an epic experiment. Hundreds of consultants were divided into two groups: one that had access to AI, GPT-4, and another that did not. They were challenged to perform various tasks representative of consultancy work, from creative tasks to market analysis. The result was fascinating.

Advantages of AI at Work

We found that advisors who had access to AI significantly outperformed those who did not. They completed tasks faster, with higher quality and in greater quantity. Quality was assessed by both human and AI raters, and the results coincided. Something interesting we observed was that the AI also leveled skills. Advisors who started out with lower performance saw a whopping 43% lift when they leveraged AI. It seems that AI is elevating all workers to a higher level.

AI Challenges

But the story doesn't end here. BCG designed a task that was carefully selected to ensure that the AI could not provide a correct answer. This led us to an intriguing discovery. When AI is too good, humans can become complacent. They let AI take over rather than using it as a tool. In our experiment, consultants who used AI had less accurate responses than those who didn't, although they still did a better job of documenting the results. It's like "falling asleep at the wheel".

The Solution: Centaurs and Cyborgs

Fortunately, there is a solution to this dilemma. We can become "Centaurs" or "Cyborgs". Centaurs strategically divide work between humans and AI, assigning tasks based on each person's abilities. On the other hand, Cyborgs merge machine and human, working together with AI, sharing tasks and responsibilities. This is the key to mastering the AI Jagged Frontier.

The Power of AI

Our findings, along with the work of other scholars, show that AI is already revolutionizing the way we work. The tools used by elite consultants are the same tools that are available to all of you. And technology continues to evolve rapidly. The future of AI is upon us, and we need to make choices about how we want to use it to make our work more productive, interesting, and meaningful. The Jagged Frontier continues to advance, and we need to be prepared.


In short, AI is a powerful force that is shaping the future of work. The AI Jagged Frontier is an exciting challenge but also full of opportunities. We can use AI like Centaurs and Cyborgs, integrating our abilities with those of AI to achieve surprising results. The future is exciting, and AI is here to stay.

We hope this article has dispelled some of the mystery surrounding AI and the Jagged Frontier. If you have more questions, check out the FAQs below.


1. What is the "Irregular Border" of AI?

The AI Jagged Frontier is a metaphor that represents the range of capabilities and limitations of artificial intelligence, with some tasks being very difficult to accomplish and others relatively easy.

2. How does AI affect work?

Our research showed that AI can improve job performance, but it also highlighted the challenges of relying too much on it.

3. What are Centaurs and Cyborgs in AI?

Centaurs divide tasks between humans and AI, while Cyborgs merge their skills with AI to work together.

4. How can I use AI effectively in my work?

Try different approaches, learn the capabilities of AI and choose the best strategy for the tasks at hand.

5. What is the future of AI at work?

AI will continue to evolve and play an increasingly important role in work, but how we use it is a choice we must make.

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