By Aaditya Jain (ESMT '23)
On November 30, 2022, my LinkedIn blew out of proportion. It was full of notifications and messages about this new AI model developed by OpenAI called ChatGPT, an advanced generative AI. And in the spirit of that, I asked ChatGPT about itself.
I was fascinated. And then I started playing with it more. I wanted to buy a new coffee machine, so I asked ChatGPT to recommend a few machines within my budget. Moreover, I learned to integrate it with Google Sheets in a couple of weeks. In a month, there were more AI tools that helped me create presentations in no time, plan my day, and helped me create frameworks. With this, I had so many questions in mind, and I started researching them. How will generative AI disrupt business? What will the future of work look like? What impact will it have on people, organizations, and society? And what will the digital future hold for us?
AI for organizations
Unfavorable macroeconomic situations force organizations to cut costs and become lean. This becomes imperative to plan for the future and adapt to the market needs. The advancements in generative AI could change the way organizations adapt to the market. It has the power to help companies cut costs, increase employee productivity, disrupt supply chains, and create a more enhanced customer experience. Though tools like ChatGPT and others can generate output on their own, they still need human input and intervention to work. According to the most recent ‘CEO survey’ by PwC, where they surveyed over 4000 CEOs, 52% said that they’re already exploring the benefits of humans and machines working together, and 39% are considering the impact of AI on their future skills needs. Organizations that can figure out how to complement these tools with humans and align them to their business needs will thrive and sustain in the future. How can organizations successfully navigate this change?
It all starts with the Leadership. Organizations will have to redefine their C-suite roles. They will need people who understand AI use cases and are adaptive and open to change. AI could transform many functions - HR, Supply Chain, Marketing, Sales, etc.- leaders need to be prepared for that and practice more empathy.
Focus more on People. Engage with internal and external stakeholders and set the right expectations. Have open and honest conversations with everyone involved. In a highly automated world, the need to be human will increase. The competitive advantage in the future will lie in finding the sweet spot between using technology and providing a more humane customer and employee experience.
Understanding the risks and creating guidelines. Generative AI still works publicly available data. Hence, the results might not be 100% accurate and reliable. It still has a lot of systematic biases, which might go against the organization values and principles. To add to this, how would it fit into an organization’s culture and what about intellectual property rights? Generative AI is still at an early stage but maybe, not for long.
AI For people
Will Artificial Intelligence take over your job in the future? Let’s ask from AI itself!!
This is what ChatGPT answered. This is the reality, and people will have to accept this sooner or later. I am just afraid that it does not get too late.
We are undergoing a fundamental transformation, and this is not a surprise. AI is not new. This concept originated in the 19th century and has been evolving since then. According to ‘PwC’s workforce of the future’ report, which surveyed over 10,000 people in China, Germany, India, the UK, and the US, 60% think that few people will have stable, long-term employment in the future. Moreover, 37% of people are worried about ‘automation’ putting jobs at risk. So, how do you prepare yourself best?
Accept the reality and think of AI as your team member. ChatGPT had more than 100 million users in its first two months. And this is just one AI tool. There are other tools to help you create presentations, take notes, write basic code, analyze data, generate content, etc. If not completely, you get a basic framework, and you can build on it. Make it your team member. It’s not ‘AI vs You.’ It is ‘AI and You.’
Be Agile and flexible. The more flexible you are, the more prepared you will be. If you are good at something now, there might be a time when that skill would mean nothing. You will have to be agile enough to learn, unlearn and relearn.
Be more Human. The need for soft skills will increase in the future. Authenticity, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, persuasion, and above all, Kindness - these skills might get scarce. And no matter how advanced AI gets, it cannot replace a person's values.
Stay Curious about what’s next. Try to look at the bigger picture. Think long-term. Have an idea about the megatrends and changes in technology. Curiosity takes you to places. Here’s a pretty cool YouTube channel to keep you updated: https://www.youtube.com/@TwoMinutePapers
AI For society
Back in middle school, we were asked to write an essay on the topic - ‘Technology, A bane or a boon.’ I still remember some of what I wrote - ‘Technology was invented to solve people’s problems. It evolved to make our lives easier. It brought people together. Advancements in technology saved people’s lives, helped us explore a tiny part of space, and made us wiser in making calculated decisions.’ This was back in 2012; we have only seen technology growing multi-folds. And recently, one of the significant challenges which the world navigated through was Covid-19. Navigating through Covid-19 without the help of technology would have made it worse. And for the current and future crises - The climate crisis, the geopolitical tensions, cybersecurity, etc. - Technology is and will be a significant part of the solution. The recent advancements in AI are a game-changer. How do we want to use it is on us. Sooner or later, all of us, will have to find a way to regulate the use of AI. The onus is on us to use this for the collective good of society. I remember Steve Jobs saying you can only connect the dots by looking backward. But this is not the time to wait and look at hindsight. AI is no longer a thing of the future. It is the present. We cannot sit back and wait for things to unfold.
We must think THROUGH time, plan BEFORE time, and act IN time.
About the Author
Aaditya Jain is a Master’s in Management student at ESMT Berlin, specializing in Global & Digital Strategy. He was featured in Brainz Magazine for his thought leadership and has been a Keynote Speaker talking about Digital Transformation & Future of Work. A computer science engineer by background and an Ex-AIESECer, Aaditya believes that Technology and Businesses bring people together for a collective good of the society Follow Aaditya on LinkedIn for more insights on the Future of Work, Digital Transformation, Strategy & Leadership in Tech.