The rise of machine learning and AI has been ongoing for quite a while, but it’s only relatively recently that conversations surrounding generative AI have really taken off in business and the world at large.
Like any kind of wide sweeping change or advancement, there’s a lot of debate on all sides about how useful these advances actually are. On one side are those who have gone all-in on AI, proclaiming its ability to transform the way we work for the better. On the other are those who fear that current AI trends are little more than a precursor to them getting replaced by a machine.
The more I learn, the more I’ve come to decide that leaders shouldn’t fear AI. Instead, they should look for strategic ways to embrace it in their business and personal life.
Combine Human Insight With Computational Power
While it’s true that machines can’t replicate human insight or creativity, they have an undeniable advantage when it comes to pure computational power. Leaders should never neglect their own unique insight and perspectives — but there’s no denying that AI can be a powerful asset that enhances their own capabilities.
As Marvin Steinberg, founder of Reach Goals, an AI-powered goal setting and motivational app, recently explained to me, “When used properly, AI allows us to fuse human insight with computational power. As leaders, we’re often good at figuring out the big picture goal and the broad strategies that are needed to get there. But diving down into the nitty gritty strategies — the more detailed aspects — can be challenging. AI can take your specific inputs and craft strategies for goal achievement, tailored to your unique situation.
“For example, at CPI Technologies, we use predictive modeling with big data to get accurate, objective perspectives in driving strategy. AI enhances your potential by fleshing out your strategy in a much more efficient way — and that’s just one example.”
The potent combination of human ingenuity and computational power is also easily seen in the healthcare industry. AI is being used to make diagnoses based on medical imagery, helping doctors evaluate whether a burn is healing properly, or even whether a patient is dealing with a malignant tumor or a benign cyst.
In both of these examples, AI isn’t replacing the humans involved in the work. But it is helping them work better and make smarter decisions that will improve outcomes for everyone involved.
‘Delegate’ Tasks Outside Your Area of Expertise
Business leaders, especially at startups, often hinder their own productivity by trying to take on too many tasks on their own. This often includes attempting to do work that lies outside their area of expertise. While such efforts aren’t necessarily doomed to failure, this often leads to an increased risk of errors, low-quality work and lost time.
But with AI on your side, many of the tasks that leaders attempt to do on their own can essentially be delegated to a machine.
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As Steinberg notes, “So much of what we do — including in leadership positions — involves repetitive, tedious tasks that don’t necessarily require our maximum mental output. Or they do require our focus and energy, but their repetitive nature makes us give them less attention than they deserve. AI can help. It can provide an outline to help you draft contracts, or it can automate data manipulation and categorization to reduce the risk of errors. You could even use it to help you review contracts. These are tasks that leaders aren’t necessarily going to ‘outsource’ to another worker, but can still benefit from AI assistance.”
With AI, leaders have the potential to keep more work in-house, while becoming better equipped to take on tasks that are uniquely suited to their own skill set.
AI Will Create New Opportunities
While many people fear AI will eliminate jobs, researchers have also been quick to note that AI offers the potential for creating new jobs — particularly in roles that require higher-level thinking.
As a case study from Computer World notes, employees weren’t displaced when HR software company ADP began using AI: “Even as ADP automated digital tasks once done by workers, it didn’t reduce headcount as a result. In fact […] the company ended up paying those data analysts more because those employees could develop new skills and advance up the career ladder.”
In addition, a study from Upwork found that 64% of C-suite executives plan to increase their hiring as a result of generative AI. While the opportunities that are available may change, it is clear that more and more leaders are viewing AI as an opportunity for further growth — not something that will cause their organization to contract.
Preparing for the Future
We’re only at the beginning of a revolution that many believe will be as significant as the industrial revolution or the dawning of the internet. Some leaders will be resistant to this change, while others will be proactive in how they consider implementing AI in their organization.
Don’t fear AI. Instead, do your research. Look for practical ways you can use it in your own work to improve your own capabilities — and those of the people you lead. By looking for ways to truly embrace the potential of AI in your own business, you can create powerful new opportunities for your brand and better position yourself for the future.
Reprinted with permission from Forbes.