How to Thrive in the AI Age

Three leading AI proponents warned in a story that business leaders who want to remain relevant must adapt to the current wave of AI technologies fast. Davia Temin, Bruce Molloy and Jayanth Kolla discussed trends and issued caveats.

” Just as 100 years ago electricity transformed industry after industry, AI will now do the same.” – Andrew Ng, Coursera Founder, former Baidu Chief Scientist, AI Pioneer

Most global companies have already put AI on their 2018 board meeting agendas. Savvy executives know that this “new electricity” is going to be the transformative force of the current millennium. To ignore its potential could be fatal to their companies’ long-term competitive positions, not to mention survival.

Top technology giants like Google, Facebook, Amazon, IBM, Baidu and Tencent already have made a considerable head start using AI algorithms to bring in record profits.

Even as companies begin to incorporate AI into their business models, some have already made pioneering mistakes. For instance, MD Anderson’s experiment using AI to conquer cancer, ran up a bill of $62 million.

“But it is the leaders of our companies and organizations who will decide how it will all unfold, as well as who will win, who will lose, and who will stagnate,” the article states. “AI can go beyond changing business processes to changing entire business models. It is our task to help organizations plot the future, build centralized AI functions with multi-disciplinary and cross-functional expertise, and align them with business growth strategies and governance.”

The trio points out six steps to take to ensure success:

  1. Every leader needs at least an initial immersion into AI, Machine Learning and Deep Learning, and their implications for business, offered as a separate training or customized tutorial.
  2. They need to take a deep dive into best practices in their industry: what is possible now, what will be possible, what direct and indirect competitors are doing. Also what other industries are doing that could be incorporated into their business.
  3. Leaders need to ask whether they have the right talent on board, across the board–because vision and strategy may come from the highest levels of the organization, while innovation and implementation will need to be widespread across the organization.
  4. Efforts cannot be siloed: they need to be cross-functional, across leadership levels, collaborative and managers must be highly knowledgeable. They require a synthesis of AI expertise, domain knowledge, business acumen and corporate strategy and vision.
  5. Trust and buy-in at the top are hard to marshal in such a fast-evolving technological environment. The need to find trusted advisors to guide next steps–experts who speak their language and keep pace with AI’s rapid growth as the field reaches and exceeds successive tipping points–has turned into an imperative.
  6. It is critical to get started now, but in the right ways and at the right scale, in order to enable success. This requires the board, executive leadership and those tasked with innovation and implementation to be in strategic and tactical alignment.

Driverless, autonomous vehicle

You can