Gary Mintchell

February 4, 2024

When Your Boss Asks For an AI Strategy

You boss wanders into your office. “Do we have an AI strategy?”

Worse, the CEO just read an article in the Wall Street Journal or in an industry trade magazine predicting that there will be two kinds of companies within five years—those that have an AI strategy and those who are out of business. The memo comes out—what is our AI strategy?

There are many problems here. First of which is your CEO is a bozo. But you can’t help that except by leaving. The follow on problem consists of defining AI. Do they mean machine learning? Perhaps Generative AI from Large Language Models (LLMs)?  What does the CEO expect to gain? Productivity—more work from fewer people?

I hope everyone reading this will immediately see the major fallacy:

Failure to define the problem that needs to be solved.

Technology analyst Benedict Evans and colleague Toni Cowan-Brown discuss this very problem on their latest Another Podcast. Ben was asked by a CEO about an AI strategy. Just as five years ago CEOs were asking if the company had a 5G strategy. They probably didn’t need a 5G strategy. They probably do need an AI strategy. But before plunging ahead, a better approach studies the possibilities and determines the problems that could be solved.

Much of the hype and concern comes from the explosion of Large Language Models exemplified by ChatGPT. What can these do for us? I’m not in the dystopian camp about replacing humans. Perpetual optimist and abundance thinker Peter Diamandis sees great potential with AI as personal assistants. I think there is more to that sort of future—another aspect of technology assisting humans. Sure, there will be negative applications. But the potential for good holds great promise.

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