AI is a good thing but needs clarity – and juggling

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AI is in danger of becoming a dinner party conversation piece and that is not good. The conversation probably goes along the following lines:

CEO One, ‘so George, how’s your AI strategy coming along’?

CEO Two, ‘well, Jim, pretty well actually. We’re integrating it into our IT, HR and NMS environments as we speak. I would say we’re ahead of the game. How about you’?

CEO one, ‘yup, yup, pretty much the same, it’s definitely the way to go’.

There are many pitfalls with new technologies – and transformations. Not least is the industry that surrounds a company that is trying to transform and implement what it thinks, and has been told, is the next thing that will revolutionise the company’s processes.

One culprit at the moment is, without doubt, AI. It is obviously easier for younger, nimbler companies to implement AI in a way that makes sense.

It is far harder for older, more established companies to do the same. They tend, according to a report from a recent CEO session in New York, to replicate what humans already do and simply cut costs and speeds up a process. The outcome tends to be that the AI has the same bias (culture, political leaning, gender discrimination) as the company itself.

Of course it is not just AI that is a challenge.

While you are ‘implementing AI as we speak’ you, as CEO or other Board Member, are juggling with decentralising your workforce, which is fraught for you and, according to another report, very frustrating for the workforce. As the challenges of keeping track of network issues, app delivery, messaging services become decentralised, the support team becomes more of a juggling act than anything else. And far more complex than when you had everyone in one building.

The challenges are different for almost every company on earth that is trying to modernise, become agile, trying to implement AI and various other tools. Of course, while transforming old processes into agile ones.

AI itself is reminiscent of the time IMS was the next big network thing. We did a survey amongst members of a trade association, asking whether IMS was in their strategic plan (90% said yes) and whether they knew why (90% said no). It clearly needs careful thought and a lot of expertise (which is why you should work in AI).

So, when we get overexcited by the potential of AI, spare a thought for those juggling Board Members, not least because with everything else that is going on, there might be another Next Big Thing along at any moment and that would be really confusing and disruptive.

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