Welcome to the Rapidly Accelerating Future. Welcome to The Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the most powerful technology available to mankind today, and the biggest mistake anyone can make is to ignore it. No matter what job you are in, no matter what business or industry you work in, AI is going to completely transform it.
Growth in computing power, availability of data and progress in algorithms have turned AI into one of the most strategic technologies of the 21st century.
Artificial Intelligence is having a dramatic impact because is not a standalone technology, developing in isolation. When combined with all other technological innovations (cloud computing, quantum computing, robotics, nanotechnology, biotechnology, networks, sensors, 3-D printing, augmented reality, virtual reality, blockchain), AI is part of a perfect storm triggering a fourth industrial revolution. And like the previous three industrial revolutions before it, the fourth industrial revolution is going to transform life as we know it.
Businesswise, it will impact every size organization around the world. It will change the way we understand and interact with customers, it will offer more intelligent products and services, and it will improve and automate business processes of all kinds. Unfortunately, established organizations will have a hard time keeping pace. Our biggest companies were designed in another century, for purposes of safety and stability. They were built to last; they were not built to withstand rapid, radical change. This is why, according to Yale’s Richard Foster, 40 percent of today’s Fortune 500 companies will be gone in ten years, replaced, for the most part, by upstarts we’ve not yet heard of. The advantage you had yesterday will be replaced by the technology trends of tomorrow. You don’t have to do anything wrong, as long as your competitors make or catch the wave and do it right, you can lose out and fail.
It’s not any more science fiction! It’s already happening!
Alibaba’s AI-powered chatbot – Dian Xiaomi – answers more than 350 million customer enquiries a day, successfully understanding more than 90% of them. Amazon has obtained a patent for what it calls “anticipatory shipping” — a system of delivering products to customers before they place an order. LG Tromm washing machine adapts washing cycles in line with the weather. For example, increasing the strength of the spin cycle if the weather’s not ideal for drying clothes outside. One toilet seat developed by the Rochester Institute of Technology has the ability to measure users’ blood pressure, blood oxygenation levels and heart rate to detect signs of congestive heart failure. The smart toilet might just save your life. Domino’s has started using a system called Pizza Checker that photographs every pizza when it leaves the oven and then uses machine learning algorithms to inspect it for quality before it reaches the customer. The camera system checks the type of pizza against the customer’s order to make sure they are getting what they paid for. It also verifies that toppings are distributed evenly and that the crust has been properly baked at the correct temperature. News organizations like the New York Times, Forbes, Bloomberg, and the Washington Post are already using AI to generate content.
When your competitors do this kind of things, AI isn’t a choice today – it’s a basic necessity for survival. The future had arrived, and most of us are falling behind.
Becoming a future-ready enterprise
It is clear to all of us until now, that in order to be Future-Ready Enterprise, we need to understand and know how to use AI and the latest technologies in an innovative way. Innovation is key, but there are three other essential components involved in becoming future-ready. Exponential change at an organization-wide level requires retooling your organization’s culture, strategy, and capabilities.
1. Forget the technology, AI starts with culture
To become Future-Ready Enterprise leaders need to build an innovative organizational culture. Culture is the key to building an AI-powered organization. Those companies that can build a positive AI culture, an engaging and inspiring environment, successfully manage change, and bring everyone along on the AI journey are the ones that will succeed. Leaders primarily need to create an adaptable culture that allows organizations to evolve quickly according to new business realities.
Learning, unlearning, upskilling, and reskilling will be the critical skills of staying relevant in the future. Having a diversity of perspectives at the core of healthy innovative culture results in better ideas, better products, and helps create a more inclusive future.
We live in a global society and having diverse teams is mission critical.
2. The strategic use of artificial intelligence in business
Linking your AI strategy to your business strategy is the best way to ensure AI delivers maximum value for the business. Your AI strategy should be geared around finding intelligent ways to deliver your company’s strategic goals, answer your most pressing business questions, and overcome your biggest business challenges.
Too many businesses try to apply AI to an outdated business strategy or irrelevant business model.
3. Building the right capabilities
Building the right technical skills
People won’t all need to be data scientists or AI experts in the future, but they will all need some degree of data literacy. Organizations will need to develop data literacy programs so that employees are equipped to take advantage of AI, and learn to ask questions such as “How can we use this new technology to drive success and improve performance?”
“The beauty of Big Data and AI is that it gives people the tools to make decisions based on hard facts, rather than their assumptions, biases and gut feelings”
The true objective of data literacy is to give everyone access to the right information so that every business unit can use it to make better decisions that will lead to business success.
Building the right soft skills
As machines begin to master more tasks typically performed by humans, humans must begin to focus on the areas in which they outperform machines – creative endeavors, imagination, critical thinking, social interaction and so on.
Organizations should be focused on building skills in areas that robots can’t do well – the human side of work: creativity, emotional intelligence, active learning with a growth mindset, higher level decision making, interpersonal communication skills, leadership skills, diversity and cultural intelligence, embracing change. In the intelligence revolution, these precious soft skills become hard currency.
Leadership challenges in The Fourth Industrial Revolution
The workplace is changing. The organizations of the future will have flatter hierarchies, business boundaries will become more porous, constant innovation will be the norm, workplaces will become decentralized, partnerships will become more important, and there will be more gig jobs.
Business leaders in the fourth industrial revolution will need to adapt.
“The way we run businesses will change, and the people running them will need a different set of skills”
However, many companies will struggle to bridge the skills gaps. This can be done by upskilling the existing workforce, by hiring new AI and data talent, by acqui-hiring, which can mean to acquire small AI or tech start-ups or by partnering with external providers and finally by accessing AI-as-a-service solutions.
Over the next decade, AI won’t replace managers and leaders, but managers and leaders who use AI will replace those who don’t.
Business leaders and managers in Serbia as of this month will have the opportunity to get in touch with newly established Serbian Artificial Intelligence Society (SAIS) and choose the most suitable form of collaborating, contributing and developing their organization’s needs for AI.