Generative AI and the C-Suite Part 1: Understanding the Artificial Intelligence Landscape
The winds of technological change are blowing fiercely and swiftly through both our society and the business world. The speed with which this has occurred is fairly unprecedented as generative artificial intelligence (generative AI) is a general-purpose technology birthed into the world with nearly all of the infrastructure already in place to enable rapid scaling. This has left many leaders playing a game of catch-up as they wonder how they might best adapt. We’re experiencing a quickly evolving landscape, so this article (which is part of a three-part guide) will serve as a snapshot in time to assist business owners, CEOs, presidents, and C-suite teams as they navigate the changes.
Two current sources with insight into the adoption of Generative AI are Vistage’s CEO Confidence Index Report for Q2 2023 and a report by McKinsey and Company titled The economic potential of generative AI. Here are a few key insights from these reports:
- Over 51 percent of CEOs are using AI to drive customer engagement.
- Thirty-six percent of CEOs are training their personnel on AI.
- AI adoption should not be controlled solely by IT.
- Generative AI will have a significant impact across all industry sectors.
- The potential exists to automate work activities that absorb 60 – 70 percent of employees’ time.
What Is Generative AI?
Generative AI is a concept that may seem shrouded in technical jargon and over-the-top hype. But here’s the thing: It’s not as daunting as it might seem. Indeed, the revolution is in full swing. AI tools are already transforming how businesses operate and generate value — and their impact will only grow over time.
Consider the ubiquity of AI-driven personal assistants like Siri or Alexa. Or the rise of chatbots and recommendation algorithms on websites and social media platforms. The latest wave, generative AI, goes a step further. It’s capable of generating new content from scratch, from written text to visual designs and even music. It’s also capable of conducting very sophisticated analyses on large, complicated datasets. Tools like OpenAI’s GPT-3.5, DALL-E, Jasper, Claude, Otter.ai, and Google’s Bard are already causing waves in a variety of industries. Microsoft’s forthcoming launch and integration of CoPilot AI within the Microsoft stack will likewise drive additional user comfort and familiarity with these tools.
So, how does a forward-thinking leader adapt to this new landscape? Here are some key takeaways:
1. Educate Yourself and Your Team
Start by understanding the basics of AI and how it’s impacting your industry. Leverage resources like the “AI for Everyone” course by Coursera or “The Executive’s Guide to AI” by McKinsey, or the Vistage Artificial Intelligence Resource Center.
2. Start Small
There’s no need to overhaul your entire business model right away. Begin by implementing AI in a small, manageable part of your operations, then measure the results and adjust as necessary.
3. Identify Opportunities
Consider how AI might enhance your current products or services, streamline your operations, or generate insights from your data. Look to case studies to learn how others in your industry have successfully leveraged AI.
4. Leverage Existing Tools
You don’t need to build your own AI from scratch. There are numerous AI services and platforms available — like Microsoft’s Azure AI, IBM’s Watson, or Google Cloud AI — that can be tailored to your needs. Forthcoming integrations will similarly unleash a wide variety of tools and abilities. Stay abreast of these developments.
5. Consider Ethical Implications
Remember that with great power comes great responsibility. The use of AI should be guided by a clear set of ethical guidelines to avoid misuse and protect privacy. Adopting internal policies and procedures for using AI is fundamental. Drop me a line to receive a copy of my document, How to Develop Guidelines for Using Artificial Intelligence.
Stay Tuned for Parts 2 and 3 of this AI Series!
I hope this foundational knowledge and approach will prepare you as you step into the world of AI. In Part 2, we’ll delve deeper into how AI can reshape your organization and how you can lead that transformation.