Recommendations for Executives Seeking AI Solutions

Recommendations for Executives Seeking AI Solutions
June 5, 2024

Original Post Published on May 8, 2023

A brief note about navigating the hype and embracing a cautious approach in the new digital environment.

Introduction

ChatGPT's success propelled the AI field from an unknown subject to everyday business people to a mainstream business need that captured the attention of business executives worldwide. However, a wave of overnight "experts" have emerged along with the hype.

Below I outline the challenges business executives face in this new AI landscape and the best approach for incorporating AI into their organizations.

The Overnight Expert Phenomenon

The explosion of interest in AI has led to a growing wave of self-proclaimed AI experts. Individuals and organizations with little expertise in AI, its models, or applications, are now posing as authorities on the subject. This sudden appearance of "expertise" can be attributed to the novelty factor. When a new technology like AI gains traction, confusion abounds, and opportunists seize the chance to capitalize on the lack of clarity of business owners and executives alike.

These overnight experts are quick to form partnerships, sell courses and books, and promote quickly hacked apps, which add pressure to business executives who feel the urgency to catch up with the latest trend and are left to make decisions without sufficient information. To avoid falling prey to these opportunists, executives must adopt a cautious and educated approach before considering incorporating AI into their businesses.

A Lesson from History: Experiment and Proceed with Caution

We have seen this phenomenon play out with other technologies, and the best way to navigate this landscape is through cautious experimentation. Business executives need to invest time and resources in understanding the technology, its capabilities, and its limitations before making any significant decisions.

Advising Corporate Clients on AI

As a trusted advisor, I am often asked how to best approach and advise corporate clients. My response to executives and business leaders is: Before advising clients on AI, educate yourself on large language models’ capabilities and limitations. Try it out, build a digital twin organization, and let your staff familiarize themselves with the pros, the cons, and the risks, such as privacy, IP ownership, cybersecurity, and input/output pollutants. Then draft and enforce safe usage policies so that you can also become a trusted advisor.

In addition, your organization should set up a task force to explore various AI tools and applications available in the market to determine which solutions are best suited for your clients' needs. This will help you to develop a comprehensive understanding of AI and its applications, enabling you to provide informed and relevant advice to your clients.

The Rush for AI Implementation: A Growing Concern

A growing concern is business leaders hastily asking their teams to develop AI use cases or rushing to hire prompt engineers without understanding their own needs, the technology’s potential, or the long-term implications and commitment required to maintain and improve AI models. This approach can lead to misaligned expectations, wasted resources, and, ultimately, failure in AI integration.

The Path Forward: Education, Cautious Experimentation, and Working with Reputable Advisors

To successfully navigate the AI landscape, executives must prioritize education and cautious experimentation. By investing in understanding AI, its capabilities, and limitations, they can make informed decisions and avoid the pitfalls of misinformation spread by overnight experts.

Moreover, partnering with reputable advisors can help businesses navigate the new digital environment. These advisory firms have the expertise and resources to guide executives through AI and policy implementation, ensuring that the technology aligns with the organization's goals and requirements.

In conclusion, AI offers immense potential for transforming the way businesses operate. However, business executives need to approach AI with caution, separating the hype from reality. By prioritizing education, experimentation, and partnering with reputable AI companies, executives can ensure their organizations are well-equipped to navigate the AI landscape, reaping the benefits while mitigating the risks.