Dunvegan Thought Spot


In the research The Dunvegan Group conducts to support our CCR™ (Customer Care & Retention™) programs, we discover articles, blog posts and videos which, although not directly related to our work, are thought provoking or concern matters you may want to think about.  ‘Thought Spot’ covers a broad range of subjects.

The posts in ‘Thought Spot’ are selected by Olev Wain, Ph.D., VP of Research at The Dunvegan Group. 

We welcome your feedback!



Should You Bring Artificial Intelligence Into Your Business?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) holds great potential for most businesses since it can be used to automate many mental tasks taking less than one second of thought. Image recognition is a good example of such a task.

Such automation can be done either today or in the very near future, according to Andrew Ng who is head of global Artificial Intelligence strategy at the Chinese search company Baidu.

Ng draws an analogy between the rise of Artificial Intelligence and the introduction of electricity. Writing in Harvard Business Review in November 2016 he observed:

A hundred years ago electricity transformed countless industries; 20 years ago the internet did, too. Artificial intelligence is about to do the same.

To take advantage, companies need to understand what artificial intelligence can do and how it relates to their strategies. But how should you organize your leadership team to best prepare for this coming disruption?

A hundred years ago, electricity was really complicated. You had to choose between AC and DC power, different voltages, different levels of reliability, pricing, and so on.

And it was hard to figure out how to use electricity: Should you focus on building electric lights? Or replace your gas turbine with an electric motor?

Thus many companies hired a VP of Electricity to help them organize their efforts and make sure each function within the company was considering electricity for its own purposes or its products. As electricity matured, the role went away.

Recently, with the evolution of IT and the internet, we saw the rise of CIOs to help companies organize their information. As IT matures, it is increasingly becoming the CEO’s role to develop their companies’ internet strategy.

Indeed, many S&P 500 companies wish they had developed their internet strategy earlier. Those that did now have an advantage. Five years from now, we will be saying the same about AI strategy.

Ng recommends hiring a Chief AI Officer (CAIO) so that Artificial Intelligence gets applied across all divisions of your company. A CIAO should have the following skills:

Good technical understanding of AI and data infrastructure. In the AI era, data infrastructure — how you organize your company’s databases and make sure all the relevant data is stored securely and accessibly — is important.

Ability to work cross-functionally. AI itself is not a product or a business. Rather, it is a foundational technology that can help existing lines of business and create new products or lines of business.

Strong intrapreneurial skills. AI creates opportunities to build new products, from self-driving cars to speakers you can talk to, that just a few years ago would not have been economical.

A leader who can manage intrapreneural initiatives will increase your odds of successfully creating such innovations for your industry.

Ability to attract and retain AI talent. This talent is highly sought after. Among new college graduates, I see a clear difference in the salaries of students who specialized in AI.

A good Chief AI Officer needs to know how to retain talent, for instance by emphasizing interesting projects and offering team members the chance to continue to build their skill set.

Your thoughts?

Image courtesy of NicoEINino at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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