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Human-AI Ensembles: When Can They Work?


Journal of Management


Strategy and Entrepreneurship

Authors / Editors

Choudhary V;Marchetti A;Shrestha Y R;Puranam P

Publication Year



An “ensemble” approach to decision-making involves aggregating the results from different decision makers solving the same problem (i.e., a division of labor without specialization). We draw on the literatures on machine learning-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) as well as on human decision-making to propose conditions under which human-AI ensembles can be useful. We argue that human and AI-based algorithmic decision-making can be usefully ensembled even when neither has a clear advantage over the other in terms of predictive accuracy, and even if neither alone can attain satisfactory accuracy in absolute terms. Many managerial decisions have these attributes, and collaboration between humans and AI is usually ruled out in such contexts because the conditions for specialization are not met. However, we propose that human-AI collaboration through ensembling is still a possibility under the conditions we identify.

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