What does Centaur mean in tech slang?

A person who is supported by artificial intelligence

In tech jargon, a ‘Centaur’ isn’t quite the mythical creature you might be thinking of. Instead, it’s a term used to describe a human who is working together with artificial intelligence (AI) to perform tasks more efficiently than either could alone. This kind of partnership can be seen in many areas, one of the most notable being chess.

Centaur as a term came into being after a famous chess player, Anatoly Karpov, lost to an AI program called Big Red. Karpov came up with a new form of chess, often referred to as ‘Centaur Chess’, where a player can team up with an AI. The player can choose to follow the AI’s suggested moves, or go their own way. This blend of human intuition and AI’s raw computing power often results in teams, or ‘Centaurs’, that outperform both solo humans and AI.

Centaur isn’t just limited to chess. As AI continues to grow and evolve, the term ‘Centaur’ is being used in other fields too. Any situation where a human is using AI to help them perform better can be described as a Centaur scenario.

You might be surprised to learn that you’re probably a Centaur yourself! Anytime you use your phone’s predictive text feature while typing, you’re essentially teaming up with an AI to write your message. That’s right, you’re a real-life, tech Centaur!

Example for using ‘Centaur’ in a conversation

Hey, have you heard of the term ‘Centaur’?

Yeah, it’s when a human and AI work together to perform better than either on their own.

Exactly! Like a human and AI hybrid, just like in centaur chess.

Oh, so it’s like when a chess player teams up with AI to make better moves?