Reports show that 62% of leaders are investing in AI, and those who have bought in are reporting a 71% positive return. Beyond numbers, the true value of this transformative tech lies in its ability to re-humanize our business processes. But organizations must strike a delicate balance to ensure it enriches, rather than eclipses, our capabilities.
Leaders today need a roadmap — one that demystifies AI’s strengths and limitations, explains its economic and societal implications, and offers best practices for safe, responsible integration. Read on to discover how some of the world’s top thinkers are unlocking AI’s unparalleled business value while ensuring a future where people and machines harmoniously coexist.
Best Practices for De-Biasing AI Systems
There’s been a lot of handwringing over sentient AI, but according to Harvard Law School Professor Paola Cecchi-Dimeglio, award-winning expert on behavioral and data science and author of the new book “Diversity Dividend” (MIT Press, September 2023), bias in AI is a bigger problem – and it’s already here. In a standout article, “Can We Get the Bias Out of Our AI?” Cecchi-Dimeglio illuminates how algorithms, originally intended to promote fairness and automation, can inadvertently perpetuate discrimination, leading to harmful lawsuits. She then proposes 12 best practices to help organizations and decision-makers prevent it.
Social AI: How Artificial Intelligence Will Change Society
A key challenge of AI is not fundamentally the nature of human-machine interactions, but rather how human-human interactions will fare in the presence of machines. Dr. Nicholas A. Christakis has been at the forefront of the scientific exploration of such “hybrid systems” of humans and AI. Drawing from his book “Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society,” Christakis shows how the careful yet simple programming of AI agents can enhance the performance of human groups, making people within such groups better able to cooperate, coordinate, innovate and share information, ultimately contributing to their superior performance.
The Future of Work: Balancing the Human + AI Equation
For decades, technology has been helping humans perform tasks, taking the drudgery out of work, enhancing productivity and, in some cases, eliminating the need for people to be involved at all. But automation has a dark side, says Nicholas Carr, New York Times bestselling author and former Harvard Business Review executive editor. Author of “The Shallows” and The Wall Street Journal essay “Automation Makes Us Dumb,” Carr encourages organizational leaders to pause before offloading too many tasks to robots and AI. Drawing on decades of research, he explains how automation is reshaping work in every sector, including professional and white-collar jobs long considered the special preserve of humans.
Make AI Work For Your Business: Opportunities and Challenges Ahead
AI is sometimes seen as a threat to organizations and human jobs alike, but according to renowned roboticist and AI expert Dr. Ayanna Howard, dean of the College of Engineering at The Ohio State University, this pessimistic vision of the future of business and work is misguided. As AI and humans increasingly become co-workers and the virtual workplace becomes more common, Howard teaches leaders how to strategically adopt and leverage AI in ways that keep people connected, productive and innovative, ensuring benefits outweigh unintended consequences.
Putting Humanity at the Core of AI Innovation
Rapid advances in AI often lead to apprehension. How can organizations innovate with these tools while keeping the human element at the forefront? Soumitra Dutta, dean of the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford, brings essential guidance in developing “people-first” AI strategies. The co-founder and president of the Portulans Institute, Dutta stresses the importance of human agency, underscoring that effective AI implementation doesn’t just predict outcomes but combines it with human judgment. He offers a vision where people and technology are partners, empowering organizations to understand the hope and fear surrounding AI and ensuring a future where humans are central to every technological evolution.
Confronting the AI Dilemma
It’s clear that AI systems are having deep impacts on business, government and society. According to Art Kleiner, principal and editor-in-chief of Kleiner Powell International, it’s vital for leaders to understand both the potential benefits and pitfalls of AI technology. He draws from his essential guidebook, “The AI Dilemma: 7 Principles for Responsible Technology,” to integrate the perspectives of engineering, business, government and social justice to help make sense of programmed intelligent systems. By sharing a practical seven-point outline for responsible deployment of AI, Kleiner provides audiences with an accessible framework that can be implemented immediately.
Embrace the Human Side of AI
With the explosion of news about AI, particularly generative AI, large language models (LLMs) and machine learning (ML), we’re in a moment in which people are reacting very strongly to AI. According to Microsoft innovation and growth executive Jason Wild, it’s okay for us to have “good fear” and consider the implications of the emerging technology thoughtfully. Explaining that AI isn’t new at all, it’s just now gone mainstream, he demonstrates why it’s important to consider the human side of AI and how the technology will impact our daily lives.
Empowering Leaders for the AI Era: Beyond Technology to True Transformation
As AI continues to disrupt traditional leadership paradigms, how can modern leaders remain impactful and relevant? Globally recognized leadership authority Linda A. Hill sheds light on this intricate challenge in an influential Harvard Business Review article, “What Makes a Great Leader?” Hill introduces the three cornerstone roles of leaders in the AI landscape – architect, bridger and catalyst – and emphasizes that in an AI-augmented world, leadership success lies not just in mastering the tools but in fostering cultures of co-creation, curating networks of talent and energizing entire ecosystems for collaborative innovation. She urges leaders to evolve and embrace the personal transformations that drive genuine innovation in an AI-driven era.
How to Adopt AI While Protecting Human Capital
AI and robotic systems allow organizations to streamline processes and ensure output quality, but they can also have unintended consequences. University of California, Santa Barbara Technology Management Professor Matt Beane explains that we are unintentionally removing humans from processes and siloing tasks, which can lead to employees becoming disengaged and behind on building skills. An expert on human-machine interaction, he illustrates how on-the-job learning, the traditional route for skill-building, is under threat. Engaging and energetic, Beane offers leaders and teams strategies for implementing tech solutions while enabling workers to build skills and connections with each other, greatly enhancing an organization’s human capital.
What CTOs Need To Know About AI
“AI systems are not magic,” says Carnegie Mellon’s Human and Robot Partners (HARP) Lab Director Henny Admoni. An expert on how humans and machines relate to one another, she explains why it’s important for executives to understand the potential shortcomings of AI systems and why their AI systems must be first and foremost transparent and explainable. Admoni brings leaders and teams insights into the limitations of specially trained systems, why they might not meet the use case for their organization and how to make sure they’re using the right system for the task at hand, ensuring the results meet an organization’s needs and expectations.
Unmasking AI: Rethinking the Automation of White-Collar Roles
While AI promises efficiency in the white-collar realm, blind adoption may pose risks. Wharton Professor Peter Cappelli cautions against letting AI dominate roles demanding human nuance. Drawing from his rich experience in analyzing workplace dynamics, Cappelli explores how AI applications like ChatGPT might lead to errors of judgement due to their lack of natural intuition and inability to incorporate proprietary information. Renowned for his balanced view of new technology, Cappelli’s deep dive into workplace dynamics underlines the importance of recognizing AI’s limits, especially in evaluative decision-making. He emphasizes that human judgment should remain central to workplace operations, ensuring accurate business decisions and safeguarding human dignity.
Artificial Intelligence: The Embedded Enabler of Our Future Lives
With the unexpected pace of generative AI agents like ChatGPT, how will this technology help us become a space-faring race? Founder and general partner of deep tech venture capital fund Aurelia Foundry, Ariel Ekblaw, Ph.D., brings organizations a look at how the current state of conversational AI is not only reminiscent of popular science-fiction TV shows but has also arrived decades earlier than many predicted. With applications for designing and building space habitats, life support systems and more, Ekblaw illustrates the compelling crossover between AI and space tech and shows audiences how AI can soon become a fully embedded enabler in all areas of our lives.
Enhancing Human Abilities: Cyborgs and the Future of Work
While smartphones and connected devices render us part-human, part-machine, they often distract more than assist us. Pattie Maes of the MIT Media Lab envisions an AI-augmented reality where technology complements human abilities rather than acting as a distraction. Instead of robots overtaking tasks, Maes champions AI-enhanced extensions for our cognitive functions and robotic aids for our physical capabilities. This fusion not only boosts efficiency but also removes geographical constraints, revolutionizing collaboration and training. In this era of AI integration, we are the evolving cyborgs, Maes emphasizes, and the imperative is to harness AI to amplify our inherent strengths.
Remote Work in the Age of AI: Balancing Progress with Job Security
As AI technologies advance, fully remote workers face a looming question: will AI eclipse their roles? Nick Bloom, Stanford economist and the mastermind behind WFH Research, delves into this pressing concern in a standout new article for Fortune. He emphasizes AI’s limitations, such as the inability to replace the distinct value of physical presence and human empathy, while advocating for the potential of hybrid work models, which marry technological efficiency with the irreplaceable human touch. Bloom helps business leaders find a clear roadmap to navigate the AI revolution, ensuring their workforce remains both relevant and irreplaceable.
Building Stakeholder Confidence and Trust in AI Solutions
How can organizations ensure stakeholder trust in AI solutions, especially when the technology’s complex nature obscures its inner workings? Barbara Wixom, principal research scientist at MIT-Sloan, helps organizations answer this challenge with her deep research into data monetization and AI capabilities. Co-author of “Data Is Everybody’s Business” (MIT Press, September 2023), Wixom decodes challenging AI characteristics such as model opacity and drift in a way that resonates with technical newbies and veterans alike. She offers organizations a roadmap, drawing from real-world examples like Microsoft’s AI journey, to ensure their AI models are transparent, trustworthy and value-generating. This secures ongoing stakeholder confidence in an increasingly AI-driven landscape.
Merging AI with Human Ingenuity
In an AI-forward era, what is the evolving role of human intelligence? Do human intelligence and artificial intelligence compete, coexist or synergize? Does complementarity, or the relationship between humans and digital systems, inform the way we design and deploy AI? Scientist and engineer Arnav Kapur believes we need to design technologies and interfaces that augment human cognition. As he explained on a standout 60 Minutes appearance, advancing AI isn’t about making the box smarter; it’s about enabling humans to be more creative and better connected – with technology but also with one another. A TED Fellow, Kapur challenges the conventional “external” view of AI, envisioning a world where AI enhances human strengths, like intuition and emotional intelligence, rather than overshadowing them. Instead, he presents a future where AI is woven into our daily experiences, amplifying our capabilities without being intrusive. An unforgettable inventor who is creating the devices that will enable the future, Kapur reveals the potential of AI as a natural extension of human cognition, empowering us to connect more profoundly with both technology and each other.
As these experts show, embracing AI isn’t merely about technological adoption – it’s about enriching human potential. In this unfolding AI landscape, leaders must seize the unique opportunity to blaze new trails, ensuring that their organization’s principles are staying on pace with its growing prosperity. By engaging these AI academics, entrepreneurs and authorities, this new journey can seem as easy as taking a walk in the park.
When engaging with AI tech, leaders need guidance not only to maximize ROI, but also to remain grounded in the human essence that originally propelled their organization’s success. Stern Strategy Group connects you with renowned thought leaders whose insights, strategies and management frameworks help organizations fuel growth and disruptive innovation to better compete in a constantly changing world. Let us arrange for these esteemed experts to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting sessions, workshops and keynotes.