I had the pleasure of recently presenting at the AI Summit NY 2018 on “Tales from the Future of Work," discussing how businesses and the workforce in general will evolve over the next decade with the onset of AI. AI will undoubtedly revolutionize the world as we know it today. According to McKinsey, by 2030, the global GDP will increase by approximately $13 trillion due to artificial intelligence. That’s equivalent to adding Wal-Mart to Exxon to Apple to AT&T to Amazon… and then adding that to the next 683 largest US companies. Clearly, AI’s impact will be massive and far-reaching.
AI enabled strategy will be critical for businesses as it will allow new insights into what business can do, how efficiencies can be gained, how to grow exponentially, etc. I firmly believe that AI is like the new electricity — it will change every facet of our world. Companies need to start thinking about how to incorporate AI into their business models as it will be a key competitive differentiator.
As a business leader, thinking about an AI strategy can be daunting. But the road to the AI Economy can be broken down into a few key focus areas:
- AI enabled strategy. Early adopters of AI gain industry advantage. Now more than ever as AI is relieving back-office costs by 50%, implementing an AI strategy focused on scale, complexity, and velocity is crucial to success.
- Treat data as an asset. The global data economy is worth $3 trillion, meaning business will miss out if they are not capitalizing on the value of data. Business must ask: what data do we possess, and what data do we need?
- License before buy/build. As it becomes clear that AI is eating software, business must put in place an integrated software development kit. Licensing should include the appropriate combination of deep learning, machine vision, natural language, and causal reasoning.
- Focus on experience design. Above all, design matters. The experience and design of a product determines its successful adoption into businesses. Careful planning prior to implementing is essential.
Change is the only constant — and this certainly rings true for the future of work in an AI enabled world. One is conversational technology such as chatbots and smart devices. Smart speakers have achieved three times the market penetration in their first four years that smart phones did and the ubiquity of these devices will only increase. Another area is insight generation. Over 80% of the data in the world is unstructured. AI can process and organize much of this data, addressing shortcomings in scale, complexity and velocity that leaves so much of this data unprocessed. The final area is process automation, in particular, task level automation. Using AI for task level automation can reduce back office costs by as much as 50%.
In this new AI world, data will become an even more valuable asset. The global data economy is estimated to be worth $3 trillion, and that number is only going to rise. With data, businesses need to evaluate what data do they possess today and determine its worth, both to them and to others. Businesses also need to ask what data do they need and what would be the value created. These questions will be vitally important in this new AI economy.
With the rise of AI, much of the focus on implementing it will be on experience and design. Implementing AI into an organization is no small matter. It’s not simply a business or tech tool, but a change in management style. It changes the way consumers and staff work, so proper design and experience are extremely important when implementing AI solutions. Bad design happens when companies just place AI tools on top of each other, so it’s very important that companies think through their plan and design it before implementing.