The Artificial Chicken or the Intelligent Egg?

Looking at the fast development of Artificial Intelligence one could say it is finally here to stay.

But apart from publications on large investments, promising ideas, no real artificial intelligence solutions seem to appear in the news.

Why would you invest in Artificial Intelligence

Personally I do not believe in acting on something because someone else is also doing it, so it should be right. I can make my own decisions and always think them over.

So would I invest? Yes, but not in technology.

Let me explain:

It is clear that we live in a new era, in which information is no longer scarce but we have more than we can handle. In theory everything we would need to know, yes, also in our business environment, is there. The only questions are:

  • How do I get through this massive amount of information?
  • I do not have the time, so can I do cherry picking?
  • What part of the information is reliable and can I trust?
  • How do I know who has provided the information?
  • Am I allowed to use this information?

You can probably make this list much longer, if you spend 5 minutes of your time thinking in this way. But you probably do not have 5 minutes, you are busy, are you not? Busy showing everybody that you are important, know everything, that you are in control.

And that is where things might go wrong. You are so busy, that you do not see, or do not want to see, that in a certain moment in time, part of your so important work will not exist anymore. Colleagues will not come to you for advise anymore, if you come to a meeting other people are better prepared and informed that you are. If you are a lawyer your opponent knows every nitty gritty detail, which you could have known but you did not have the budget to spend so many hours on this easy case. If you are in healthcare, or in a commercial environment, your colleagues know more about your patient or client than you, and not only the person, but also his or her’s environment, and give better predictions.

How could that happen?

They probably invested a little bit of their time in an earlier stage…….

A common mistake I often hear when talking to business users, is that they can wait until Artificial Intelligence is mature. That AI will be a complete product you can order per kilo, out of the cloud, just some commodity, maybe even free like Google search. Everything is for free these days.

It might be a strange stament, but maybe you will first need to nurture an Intelligent Egg before you will harvest the benefits of an Artificial Chicken, or the other way around?

You will never find out if you do not start with it yourself.

Artificial Intelligence has great potential, but a lot of successful innovations are not used as the technical inventors meant them to be. The first transistor radio was positioned to warn civilians for a nuclear war. How lucky these guys were that Elvis Presley just got famous and young people wanted to listen to his music without their parent. The radio was a success, but the reason why was never predicted by the technicians.

So I think you should start now, invest a small part of your valuable time in your valuable future.

From you business perspective you know exactly what parts of your work could be done more efficiently. You know which parts of information should be on a higher lever or more complete, but due to lack of time, you disregard that. Hoping that in the process of your business no one will ask the painful question ‘are you certain you took all options into consideration?’, or even worse, you present an important plan and someone in the audience comes up with facts you did not know of.

Why invest now?

Your environment knows all information is accessible, or at least expects you to do so. You will not be able to push that expectation back as soon as others show that they have managed to check all available information. Why didn’t you?

The only issue is that AI is a new way of working. You should learn how to deal with it, how to get value out of it and how to build your expertise into AI. Because AI on itself is useless, unless you make it work.

This is not something you can order in a million euro project, you need to start with the users. And the users do not know what to ask for as long as they have no clue what the new possibilities are.

Again the chicken and the egg.

What if you let your business users start to experiment with AI.

What if they would get familiar with the vision.

Would they come up with ideas? I think so.

So why not start today by giving your business users room to improve and get playing around with AI. Experiment, make mistakes, pick out the cherries. Have some trust and you will see your business will run much better in the future, or if you are just that one organization which is already perfect, it will keep you perfect on the long run.

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