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The Leadership Playbook in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

leadership for artificial intelligence era

The Future Indispensable Job Obligation 

Regardless of job diversity, there are universally applicable expectations. These inherent duties are not even included in the job postings. Yet, if you don't do these things fluently, it will be almost impossible to get a good job. 

What are these fundamental requirements? They are tasks that you can carry out effortlessly, even with your eyes closed. Looking things up on Google, writing emails, finding videos on YouTube, printing out documents, and sending new event invites to coworkers. You may laugh, thinking that these things are just too way basic to mention that even a 7-year-old could adeptly execute them without any difficulty. 

This holds true ONLY if the 7-year-old was born in the 21st century. Just a few decades ago, individuals would navigate the black-and-white DOS interface with no graphical elements. Facsimile machines were the means of sending documents to distant locations. Pagers, also called beepers or bleepers, served as the primary personal digital assistant (PDA) in the late 20th century. Occasionally, one would encounter lengthy queues of people waiting to use payphones on the street. 

Artificially Intelligence, widely known as AI, is a prominent topic in contemporary technology. In essence, it refers to machines or systems capable of simulating human intelligence, allowing them to learn, analyze, and make decisions based on the collected information. Due to its ability to swiftly absorb and analyze vast amounts of data, AI has the potential to significantly boost efficiency. You might imagine a talking robot that looks like a human when you hear the word 'AI', but AI has already been shaping our everyday lives. An illustrative example is the YouTube algorithm. It analyzes attributes like keywords, themes, topics, and lengths of the videos you watched to recommend new videos based on the patterns identified. 

how the ai is shaping the world

How AI is Shaping the World 

In 2023, remarkable strides were made in the realm of expansive, generalized AI chatbots. Specifically, the arrival of ChatGPT made waves across the globe. Witnessing its capacity to furnish intelligent responses within seconds left people both exhilarated and intimidated. Major tech companies are making substantial investments to propel the evolution further, with plans to unveil specialized bots. For instance, Meta is currently working on 28 distinct characters designed for specific uses, such as Coco for dancing, Max for cooking, and Victor for training. This year, we can anticipate observing how these AI bots will reshape various industries by offering highly personalized services. 

As we look ahead to the escalating impact of AI, multiple concerns come to the forefront. Besides job displacement, ethical considerations intensify as AI assumes a more substantial role in decision-making across diverse industries. Currently, in the absence of any governmental regulatory body overseeing AI activities, private companies employ AI software to make decisions in critical areas such as health, medicine, employment, creditworthiness, and even criminal justice, without being held responsible for ensuring that their programs are void of structural biases, whether intentional or unintentional. 


AI's increasing popularity and functionality are evident. According to a forecast from technology research firm IDC released in August, global business expenditure on AI is expected to increase from $50 billion to $110 billion annually this year. Notably, the retail and banking sectors have been the top spenders, with each sector exceeding $5 billion in expenditure last year. 


AI's unmatched efficiencies and the substantial cost benefits it brings are undeniable. CarMax is a US-based used vehicle retailer, known for its successful customer-centric approach and innovative business model. For a long time, CarMax was cognizant of the vast amount of information that potential car buyers may wish to examine. To meet their needs, CarMax utilized Microsoft's Azure OpenAI Service. They harnessed a pre-trained GPT-3 model to efficiently analyze and condense over 100,000 customer reviews for every vehicle make, model, and year they have in stock. The outcome was remarkable, as the model swiftly generated 5,000 easily readable summaries—a task the company asserts would have taken their editorial team 11 years to accomplish. 


Can we expect increased AI involvement in the near future? It's quite likely. There is a substantial amount of groundwork ahead, including securing personal data and sensitive information to guarantee their foolproof protection against unauthorized access, misuse, or surveillance. In addition, efforts must be made to prevent and minimize biases within AI systems that could potentially result in discriminatory outcomes. 

what leaders should do with ai

So What's Next? What Should We Do? 

We are in the early stages of AI development. The rate of innovation and the rate of improvement is increasing rapidly, and it will keep increasing. The pace of application development in AI is experiencing substantial growth. The transformative impact that AI is poised to have on diverse industries can be compared to the profound changes brought about by Gutenberg's invention of the printing press or the widespread adoption of the Internet, altering the world in irreversible ways. Steadily yet surely, AI is set to reshape the world, leaving it forever changed. 


In moments of significant historical change, strong opposition has consistently emerged. When the Industrial Revolution swept the globe, a substantial number of workers resisted, asserting that machines would dehumanize individuals. A good example is the Luddite movement. In the early 19th century, the Luddite movement emerged as a social protest, particularly within the English textile industry. Workers, known as Luddites, expressed their resistance to the mechanization of production, often resorting to the destruction of machines. Their objection was directed towards manufacturers who, in their view, employed machines in a manner deemed "fraudulent and deceitful," displacing skilled labour. 


Similar to the Luddites, some companies fear the profound workforce transformation brought about by AI to the extent that they outright prohibit the use of AI-based software entirely. Unfortunately, this approach is likely to leave them lagging behind. Already, hundreds of millions of users are integrating AI-powered software like ChatGPT into their work or personal activities. Instead of resisting and rejecting it, a wiser approach would be to embrace it. CEOs and managers can educate their employees through initiatives like boot camps, use-case analyses, understanding its applicability in their specific contexts, and recognizing its potential advantages. Consider ChatGPT as your new team members or assistants. Numerous free resources are available to guide you in maximizing efficiency with ChatGPT. 


emergency management and ai

Emergency Management and AI 

We are in the emergency management industry. We swiftly respond to incidents affecting our customers' valuable properties, including fire, water, weather-related, or bio-hazard damages. Our technicians are dispatched without delay to minimize damages and restore the affected properties. To ensure a thorough investigation and the best solutions, our technicians often go beyond the usual, exposing themselves to unpredictable and risky situations. Integrating AI technology in the early detection and analysis stages can markedly reduce the risks they encounter. 


AI can also play a crucial role in predictive maintenance. It ensures that equipment and structures are in optimal condition, thereby minimizing unexpected breakdowns and accidents. Sensors and IoT devices connected to AI systems can monitor the health of machinery and structures in real-time to predict when maintenance is needed. 

leader's challenge with ai

Embrace Changes and Challenges 

The book "Who Moved My Cheese" by Spencer Johnson is a long-time bestseller since its original publication in 1998. With under 100 pages, the book presents a concise fable featuring two mice and two little people, using a simple allegory to effectively communicate valuable lessons about navigating change and cultivating adaptability. 


In short, the book illustrates a situation in which the characters meet quite intimidating but anticipated challenges. In the changed situations, characters act differently. While one actively acknowledges the change and actively sets out to find new cheese, the other character is too comforted in his old routine and thus refuses the new search. Two drastically different endings for them were inevitable. Having learned from past experience, the adventurous one makes a daily commitment to exploring different parts of the maze to prevent complacency and keep up the courageous spirit. 


There is one quote from this book that's short but resoundingly profound: "If you do not change, you can become extinct."

It is human instinct to want to stay in a known, safe, proven, and comfortable area. Change is risky because it equates to walking into the unknown. You don't know what's going to happen and there is no guarantee that you will be getting what you are getting now. Yet, without change, you won't find new cheese. It is much safer and wiser to search and learn in the maze than to remain in a cheeseless situation. 


how to lead with ai:creativity

AI is Just a Tool; Leverage it with Authentic Creativity 

Early awareness of minor shifts is key to smoothly navigating the larger transformations on the horizon. AI is already in the process of altering the dynamics of various industries. Akin to historical revolutions, it will take a few years for the full effects of this paradigm shift to materialize. 


There's a prevailing concern that the integration of AI into our society may lead to the displacement of humans and their unique roles. Karim Lakhani, a professor and Business Administration researcher at Harvard Business School specializing in AI and machine learning in the workplace, argues against the idea. He asserts that AI won't replace humans; rather, humans equipped with AI will supersede those without. I share his perspective. We don't need a person who is good at mental calculation in our administration or accounting departments because we can simply use calculators. We don't need to bring every employee into a room to hold a meeting because we can simply hold a video chat: All they need is a laptop. It's crucial to recognize that AI operates based on data input by humans, and without it, autonomous functioning is not feasible. 


The extensive utilization of AI is poised to emphasize the unique capabilities of humans. Characteristically, in professional settings, there will be more demand for skills that cannot be replicated by machines. Referencing the recommendations of Yuval Noah Harari, a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, I propose the inclusion of four essential skills in the educational curriculum in today's modern world. These skills, all beginning with the letter C, include Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration, and Communication. Jobs or tasks centred around data collection, processing, and simple analysis may soon be taken over by AI, offering enhanced efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Subsequently, our role will shift to critically examine the AI-generated results, interpret their significance creatively, engage in collaborative efforts with individuals possessing diverse insights, and effectively communicate the findings to a broader audience. 


It might be a good moment to reassess our job priorities. Tasks that follow routine patterns and don't demand much cognitive effort could likely be automated by AI sooner rather than later. As Harari argued, we need to invest in what's authentically possible with humans only and sharpen those skills. It could be the pathway to success in a constantly changing landscape and achieving a gratifying life. 

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