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Aptima’s Human-Machine Symbiosis Tournament

Aptima’s Human-Machine Symbiosis Tournament

Aptima’s Human-Machine Symbiosis Tournament

Developing a concept for modeling and managing the competence of a hybrid team of at least one human and one AI or intelligent machine

Intelligent machines and intelligent humans are becoming tightly intertwined in military and civilian applications. The familiar phrase, “human-machine interaction” connotes a brittle interface between two entities. HMI does not describe the emerging relationships. We are entering an era of symbiosis, in which human and machine dynamically develop models (mental or computational) of their teammates and their tasks, then use these models drive communication and team coordination towards optimal efficiency and effect.

The sciences of human cognition and human organization are reasonably mature, as are the methods of artificial intelligence and machine learning. However, we have little scientific theory, technique, or technology with which to design, measure, develop symbiotic human-machine systems.

Aptima is building bridges across this gap on DoD research contracts that serve domains as diverse as intelligence analysis and biological science. To engineer yet more crossings over this chasm, Aptima recently hosted a Human-Machine Symbiosis Tournament. Thirteen teams of Aptimists—including behavioral scientists, mathematicians, and computer scientists—crafted concepts that describe novel sensors of team behaviors, machine learning of team member capabilities and mission tasks, and assessment of team state and potential. They presented these concepts to their colleagues and Aptima leadership. Aptima is now putting these ideas to work in conversations with and white papers to DoD program officers whose research investments will shape the future of a symbiotic world.


Aptima's Chief Scientist Dr. Jared Freeman has extensive experience investigating problem solving by individuals and teams in real-world settings. From this research, Jared and his colleagues develop decision aids, training systems, measures of performance and communications, and organizational designs that support mission leaders and their staffs. Jared is the author of more than 125 articles in journals, proceedings, and books concerning these and related topics.