The AI Dilemma

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The AI Dilemma: A Leadership Guide to Assess Enterprise AI Maturity & Explore AI's Impact in Your Industry by Dr. Cindy Gordon

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is everywhere, even though it is perceived as a novelty by most of us. AI can accurately make predictions we could have never imagined, but has trouble answering simple questions on our phones. It is touted as one of the biggest achievements and threats for humanity by many experts –Elon Musk, Vladimir Putin, the Late Dr. Stephen Hawking and Pope Francis, to name a few. And yet, most of humanity doesn’t understand AI at all.


Simultaneously a source of the biggest benefits and risks facing every organization, profit or not-for-profit, AI exists today in a field of anomalies, the resolution to which serves two distinct scenarios: Will we create a perfect world or will we create a perfect storm?


Although the future will most likely see a mix of both of these scenarios, our collective effort and the accuracy of our awareness will determine how alert and resilient our future turns out to be in the battle between AI for Good and AI for Destruction.


A lack of acute awareness among organizations on how to prepare for AI and how to use it successfully and responsibly was the driving inspiration behind our writing this book. When we embarked on our learning journey, there was a glaring gap around the need for global organizations to develop a foundational understanding of AI, appreciate its influence and risks in order to disassociate perception from reality, and provide the leadership boost to build a solid strategy to modernize business models. After all, a significant amount of all investments in AI continue to fail due to a lack of data or organizational readiness and understanding of how to get results from AI.


A bigger concern for us was the dynamics that were globally in play behind-the-scenes, with countries developing their AI policies at different rates, and riskier AI innovations coming to fruition – all while the majority of organizational end users, decision makers and investors across all industries were lacking the skills to advance AI efficiently and effectively. Board directors, CEOs, and leaders were inadvertently limited in their understanding of the dynamics of AI in the broader landscape and the impact that AI would have on their future viability.


And so, this book has been compiled to cover major industries and organizations, as well as our work and personal lives, to drive home the use and influence of AI from diverse angles to enable more knowledge and enlightenment.


Throughout this book, readers will gain a strong understanding of the current and future state of AI evolving. For the sake of clarity and creating a unique experiential lens, each chapter starts with a fictional story through the eyes of Alixia Bolt, who inhabits two worlds – one is perfect and the other is in stark contrast, stormy. This fictional context provides an opportunity for deeper reflection by our readers who will lead us forward to shape both our current and future directions. The chapters are also structured to describe the AI shift taking place in each industry, as well as your work and personal lives, followed by relevant examples of AI in use. We conclude each chapter by understanding the implications and ethical considerations of not advancing AI with effective governance, policies, standards, and audit practices. We have also dedicated an entire chapter to compare the position that the world’s major governments have taken around using AI, given the range of economic commitments nations have made.


The battle for AI supremacy is underway, with the likes of China and the USA determined to innovate and lead, while others look to play a crucial role and in some cases, avoid any one country from dominating the landscape. How countries co-exist with 5G networks, surveillance technology, internet of things (IoT) and robotics – all leveraged by powerful AI learning models – will decide the co-existence and harmonization of man and machine.


In many respects, this is the turning point in our history where man and machine will increasingly become more ubiquitous and will no longer be clearly separated. The decisions we make in the coming years on our AI foundations, policies, practices, and legal boundaries, will not only determine the evolution of our business models but also that of our species.


To lead starts with learning. So, here is how we have organized your learning journey.


Chapter 1 will introduce the approaching omnipresence of AI in our work and personal lives. From there, we share its ongoing growth across diverse industries to set the stage for the implications of creating a Perfect World or a Perfect Storm.


Chapters 2 to 5 will discuss AI’s growing role, influence and possibilities in four industries – Healthcare, Education, Travel & Transport, and Media & Communications.


Chapters 6 and 7 will shift focus to the public sector, looking first at AI’s involvement in government operations, for citizen engagement, police and security, immigration etc., and then examine diverse policies and frameworks by countries around the world. Specifically, we discuss the positions taken by US, China, Canada, UK, Germany, India and Russia. We also explore the multi-national entities - OECD and the European Economic Union (EU) and how they are collaborating to rally unified policies for increased AI for Good, often called Transparent AI.


Chapter 8 will revert to business, particularly those with a role to play in today’s super value chains. These include: Agriculture, Manufacturing and Retail industries where increased sensor technologies, such as IoT and robotic process automation, leverage AI and cloud computing approaches to modernize complex ecosystems.


Chapter 9 will explore the work office environment(s). With over fifty percent of current professional roles predicted to be impacted by AI advances, according to the World Economic Forum, we will look at how AI is empowering or replacing jobs in different line functions, including human resources, legal, finance, sales & marketing, and operations.


Chapter 10 will go deeper into the impact AI is having on our lives on the personal front, with discussions around home automation and Cobots – personalized robots with social intelligence and greater “humanness”. This chapter will showcase how the boundaries between man and machine are blurring rapidly as our future unfolds at unprecedented rates.


Chapter 11 will bring all perspectives together to unify and explain how organizations can get AI right – where to begin, which questions to seek answers to and how to manage risks – in order to successfully use AI and shape their future sustainability. Underlying this chapter is the imperative for leaders to get underway and develop their AI strategy and roadmap, to ensure AI is used ethically and responsibly in order to manage its risks without losing competitive strength.


By the end of the book, you will have a strong comprehensive awareness of the AI state, appreciating more its importance and risks around you. You will walk away with a leadership guidance framework to evaluate your organization’s AI maturity and readiness to create a successful organizational strategy and roadmap.


Our vision needs is to create a stronger and better world – one we are confident our children will thrive in. How we keep the balance between creating a more perfect world and avoiding the risks of creating a perfect storm will depend on all nations and all citizens being informed, engaged, and responsible.


You have a voice. The decisions you make after reading this book will shape our future world.


So, will our collective path effectively tackle the dilemma we face in balancing the benefits and risks with AI? Will our actions create a Perfect World or a Perfect Storm?


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