October 31, 2023

Super Computers in Human Hands

With the AI World Conference just about to take place in the UK, we thought we’d offer a take on this transformational technology.

The entire world seems to be abuzz with discussions about AI. And it’s no surprise. I can recall very little in my lifetime that is simultaneously as exciting, awe-inspiring, and unsettling as AI.

However, many professionals who use AI have conveyed the same sentiment to me, especially when utilizing programmes like Chat GPT. They say that AI can get them about 60% of the way to their goal. However, the crucial missing 40% needs human expertise—reassessing and fine-tuning what AI has generated to make sense of it. As a professional, you – and perhaps only you – understand that the extra work remains to be done. I’m sure anyone who’s used Chat GPT and Bard will know that they are more than capable of spouting rubbish!

Mirrored by the growth of AI in the hearing industry, there is a constant stream of exciting announcements about remarkable technologies, machine learning as well as AI, being used to complement and enhance hearing. There’s no denying the advanced technology available today; some of these devices – nothing less than super computers – perform an astonishing number of computations in mere milliseconds, leaving us in awe. And we can only express our gratitude to the hearing aid companies dedicated to developing and launching such remarkable products.

Nevertheless, when reading some of the marketing materials (and, these days, accompanying social media posts!), it’s easy to assume that these devices work perfectly right out of the box, providing flawless augmented hearing.

This is not the case, and it takes me back to the point I made earlier.

While this new hearing aid technology is indeed remarkable, it only goes some of the way.

Just as AI requires detailed prompts and professional editing to make real sense (i.e. careful overseeing at both the ‘input’ and ‘output’ stages), new technology demands the insights of a professional, someone expert in hearing aid programming and the complexities of the human condition. Without this expertise, even these impressive aids will never reach their true potential. In many cases, they might perform terribly, much like AI, if not used with the knowledge of an expert.

Personally, I find the road ahead with AI compelling and inspiring. Working alongside AI and incorporating human expertise into its undeniable abilities is a promising path toward improvement for all of us and for the human condition.

But we would urge anyone reading this article not to fully buy into the hype and to believe that AI and the most advanced hearing aids possess all the solutions.

In our extensive experience, they do not. We still need human input, and I, for one, am deeply appreciative of that.