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Why Hybrid Intelligence is the Future of Artificial Intelligence at McKinsey | Technology

Why Hybrid Intelligence is the Future of Artificial Intelligence at McKinsey | Technology
Why Hybrid Intelligence is the Future of Artificial Intelligence at McKinsey 

McKinsey explains why Hybrid Intelligence is the Future of Artificial Intelligence

In 2015, McKinsey acquired QuantumBlack, a sophisticated analytics start-up of more than 30 data scientists, data engineers and designers based in London.  He made a name for himself in Formula 1 racing, applying data science to help teams achieve every possible advantage in performance.  Healthcare, transportation, energy and other industry customers soon followed.

Many times, acquisitions quietly melt into the parent company.  Not so in the case of QuantumBlack;  It has been an accelerated force for our work in analytics.  Today, it officially enters a new chapter by becoming the unified AI arm of McKinsey.  “AI is naturally part of the conversation when it comes to helping our customers achieve sustainable and inclusive growth.  It is transforming all businesses, including the organizations we serve as McKinsey,” explains Alexander Sukharevsky, who leads QuantumBlack with Alex Singla.

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Over the past seven years, the QuantumBlack community has helped McKinsey achieve many milestones: building and donating Kedro, an industry-leading developer tool, to the open source community;  being named a leader in AI;  and supporting women in technology through community efforts and mentorship.  The team grew rapidly, to 400 in 2020, and today has over 1000 technical practitioners around the world.

At the same time, QuantumBlack has been an important part of many digital and AI transformations across industries.  “We have now brought all our analytics colleagues together under one umbrella called QuantumBlack, AI by McKinsey,” says Alex Singla, who share the same culture and strongly defined career path, and use common methods and tools. 

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Team members range from deeply experienced data scientists and engineers to AI-fluent business consultants.  The firm has also undergone in-depth training and certification in all aspects of AI and Machine Learning including digital and analytics exposure.

"One thing that hasn't changed: our core principle of combining the genius of the human mind and domain expertise with innovative technology to solve the toughest problems," explains Alex Sukharevsky.  "We call it hybrid intelligence, and it starts on day one on every project."

AI initiatives are considered challenging;  Only one pilot out of ten goes into production with significant results.  “Adoption and scaling are not things you add to the tail end of a project;  They are where you need to start,” explains Alex Singla. “We bring our technology leaders along with industry and subject matter experts to be part of a process, co-creation solution and iterative model.  They come to the table with day-to-day insights into running a business that you will never pick up from data alone. 

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Our end-to-end and transformational approach is what sets McKinsey apart.  Customers are taking notice: Two years ago, most of our AI work was a single use case, and now about half is transformational.

Another differentiating factor is the properties created by QuantumBlack Labs.  "We capture the insights we've learned over the years with industries and combine them with the best technologies to stay at the forefront," explains Matt Fitzpatrick, a senior partner who leads QuantumBlack Labs with Jeremy Palmer.  These technical assets can solve up to 70 percent of the work that used to be done earlier.

“We already know how to integrate analytical models into clients’ data pipelines. We now have industry models that are plug-and-play with security, scalability and risk management already baked in.  ,” says Paul Beaumont, a senior principal data scientist based in Singapore. For example, the CustomerOne toolkit for telecommunications companies can reduce time to market for analytics campaigns by up to 75 percent.

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Next year QuantumBlack Labs will expand significantly: "We want to be a magnet for the world's best technologists and create an asset that brings all of our knowledge together, so we can take it to our customers,"  says Matt.

Today, our experts work in major cities around the world, but have remained a tradition since the early days of QuantumBlack.  “There has always been beautiful art on the walls, a deep commitment to high quality design, and a fantastic community and culture,” recalls Kat Shenton, who has been with QuantumBlack since 2017.

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Saugwen Chung: The Art of Hybrid Intelligence

The team recently hired AI artist and researcher Sougwen Chung to create a painting that brings to life the concept of hybrid intelligence and will form the basis of QuantumBlack's new visual identity.

As a first step in the artistic process, QuantumBlack data scientists processed data from a river to train its Coslnex machine learning model.  "It was the ideal tool for this project because it requires humans and technology to work together internally," explains Paul.  Saugwen further developed the model, adding its own biofeedback.

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The model guides the motion of two robotic arms that paint with it to create a beautiful rotating scene.  The result, as you can see in the film on this page, is a blend of artistry and technology that expresses the cutting edge work we do for our customers.

Source: McKinsey, Direct News 99