You Don’t Have Time To Wait For AI Adoption In Your Business

This article was first published in the Wiser! newsletter on 3rd December 2023. Wiser! is an AI focused tech and business roundup of what’s going on and what’s coming next in the digital economy.

Image Credits: AI Generated On Canva

Happy Birthday ChatGPT

So, here we are, issue 150 of the Wiser! newsletter. It feels like a major milestone to me, but one that’s been over shadowed. Because it’s also been ChatGPT’s first official birthday!

I’ve been unable to find ChatGPT’s actual birthday, or even their day of conception, but like the King of England, ChatGPT has an official birthday, and it was this week. ¡Feliz cumpleaños Chat!

Now onto something that’s been occupying my mind this week. And I’m not talking about Elon Musk’s ketamine fuelled breakdown on stage in New York this week, but something much more important for business leaders to ponder. The adoption of AI into the organisation.

Starting point: organisational change takes time. But, you don’t have time. With the sort of efficiency gains we have seen in just one year of ChatGPT, organisations that wait are going to fall behind. And quickly.

I’m talking about adopting AI tools, processes and policies into any workflow, whether you’re a single person business to the largest of enterprises. If we can trim a week long process into a day’s work, or boost the productivity of below average workers, these are profound changes to how work gets done.

So, the question becomes not whether to embrace AI but how and when. IMHO, the “when” is easy, it’s now. Which leaves the question of “how.”

The evidence suggests that employees are already embracing the “how” and using AI anyway. They just aren’t telling their bosses about it! This recent (Oct 2023) survey from Salesforce found that over half of people using AI at work are doing so without their bosses approval. The survey also found that 69% of workers had no training in AI and 64% had passed off AI work as their own.

The point here is that regardless of the percentages, it should be extremely worrying to employers if any staff are using AI on their own volition and worse, passing it off as their own. There are a ton of risks around data, privacy, confidentiality, copyright et al that would send any risk officer or financial director into a tail spin!

However, the flip side is that by embracing AI across the organisation in a controlled way, you can minimise these risks AND creates the foundation for organisational change and improvement.

I’m going to generalise now, but broadly speaking my advice to decision makers on the “how” question can be broken down into five steps:

1- Create an AI council

Organisations need to develop their own guidance because there are no playbooks or blueprints out there. This is unchartered territory. And you don’t want everyone going their own way because one favours ChatGPT, another likes Claude and the CTO wants Microsoft CoPilot. Create a cross-functional AI Council to represent all corners of the business. And include legal!

2- Prioritise Education and Training in AI

You have to get your knowledge workers on board and comfortable with the basics. In the same way as you’d expect staff to know their way around email, Word or Excel, all staff need to have a 101 understanding of how to access AI, the limitations and dangers of the tech, and how to prompt.

3- Develop AI Policies and Principles

The key here is to keep them short and easy to understand. There are two reasons for this. First, see the previous step. Understanding of AI across the organisation will be at a rudimentary level, the words need to be easy to understand by everyone! Second, the world is changing quickly and policies will change. Yoy need to write them in pencil, not indelible ink

4- Start With The Low Hanging Fruit

Chalking up early wins is important to build confidence and support in this program of change. It is also a fast track learning curve with real feedback on what can and can’t be expected. But that’s not all, you also need a broader impact assessment across the whole of the knowledge worker base, paying particular attention to the impact on human roles.

5- Build an AI Road Map

This is harder than it sounds because the landscape is changing so quickly. However, what you can do is build a roadmap that lays out the priority projects you’re going to focus on and plan for the changes you’re expecting from the adoption of AI in each area.

Here’s The Thing ➜ I see many organisations talk about using AI but at best they’re only playing around with the free versions of AI. Like using ChatGPT but not paying for ChatGPT Plus. The issue here is that their understanding of what AI can do for them does is limited to the capabilities of the free version.

Like any software platform with a free and paying subscription business model, those that pay get the goodies whilst those that take the free version get a no-frills, trimmed down version. So, all the good stuff, all the new features and capabilities, are given to the paying subscribers first.

If these are your competitors, then they have an advantage over you already!

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What Else Happened This Week?

Perplexity AI unveils ‘online’ LLMs that could dethrone Google Search

If you’re not using Perplexity already, then I urge you try it out as your Search engine. Link

Inflection’s Pi just got even better

Inflection AI is the startup behind my favourite AI, the conversational chatbot called Pi. Link

OpenAI announces Microsoft on the new all-male board

As I predicted in last week’s Wiser!, the new structure of the OpenAI board includes Microsoft as a non-voting member. Link /

Read my blog: Profits Over Safety

Sports Illustrated caught using fake AI writers

Sports Illustrated are the latest publication to be using fake people with AI-generated headshots to “write” automated copy. Link

Researchers test AI models for intelligence, and find that they’re not very smart!

Artificial intelligence programs still struggle with basic problem-solving skills that people excel at according to new research. Link

Anna Indiana is the world’s first all-AI singer-songwriter

Anna Indiana is the name given to the world’s first all-AI singer-songwriter. The lyrics, soundtrack, vocals and video of her/it singing are all AI generated using ChatGPT. Link / YouTube

Apple’s Cook calls for AI Regulation, while Google’s Schmidt warns of inadequacy in regs

Apple CEO Tim Cook has emphasises the need for regulations and guardrails to prevent misuse of artificial intelligence, calling for “rules of the road” in the industry. Meanwhile, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt goes the other way and warns that AI guardrails are insufficient to control AI capabilities. Schmidt Link / Cook Link /

Read my blog: California’s Bold Move to Lay Down The Law in AI

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About The Author

Rick Huckstep has worked in technology his entire career, as a corporate sales leader, investor in tech startups and keynote speaker. From his home in Spain, Rick is thought leader in artificial intelligence, emerging technologies and the future of work.

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