Three Tips on Artificial Intelligence Leadership

AI is in full ascent, and your technology leadership skills should be, too.

When ground-shifting technologies arrive on the corporate doorstep (think the rise of the diesel engine, the personal computer, and the internet), those technologies may be feared and resisted at first. New ways of doing business can be perceived as a threat by the workforce and even in management, especially if that technology has the potential to take away jobs.

So it goes with artificial intelligence, which completely can change the way companies do business, from ceding advertising and marketing content creation to AI to completely dismantling and revolutionizing the factory floor.

Dealing with that skepticism and fear falls under the realm of the senior executive, who must provide the leadership skills and tactics to herd staffers into the fold and put the company in a place where AI is front and center with full commitment from everyone in the company.

At last week’s UVA Conference on Leadership in Business, Data, and Intelligence at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, business leaders examined the myriad ethical issues linked to AI implementations and how executives can leverage the benefits of artificial intelligence while engaging with employees to reassure them the AI experience is a benefit to them, too.

Three Points of Action for Executives

Here are three leadership takeaways from the conference that C-suite executives can embrace to immerse AI into their corporate cultures and have everyone involved consider that experience a “win-win” situation.

Dealing with the “fright factor”. “If you’re building an AI system, the number one thing you’re going to encounter is people who are afraid,” said Andrew Gamino-Cheong, co-founder and chief technology officer of Trustible AI. “And then it’s going to be on you to help build that trust.”

That’s why taking a moderate and measured approach to your AI implementation matters so much.

“It’s not just, how do I design this system safely, securely?” said Jamie Jones, vice president of field services and technical partnerships at GitHub. “But how do I design it so that it’s safe and secure, even when it’s not doing what I expect it to do?”

“We need to be very careful about what things we are actually pushing to market, shipping and going live with that may not exactly meet what we were trying to do,” he said. “Because, again, the blast radius of AI can become so large.”

Finding balance in defining AI. “I would say the jury is still out (on how to explain AI),” said Renée Cummings, an assistant professor of the practice in data science at UVA.

“I think everyone is defining AI in the way that works best for their organization, their agency, or the things they do,” she added. “The challenge with AI is the amplification and the challenge with AI is the data.”

Finding that “sweet spot” is the way to go for senior executives who need to convince the workforce that AI is worth the effort. “Seeing the extraordinary things that AI can do – it makes you realize that we’ve got to work with these tough questions,” Cummings adds.

AI is going to make your work experience better. Mona Sloane, an assistant professor of data science at media studies at UVA, says company employees need reassurance and a seat at the table. “We’re all AI experts now,” Sloane says. “That means we should all have a voice in the conversation.”

Since the entire company will be “interacting” with AI, it makes sense to explain the benefits of all those AI interactions throughout the company.

“We all are building up really important knowledge by way of this experience around AI,” Sloane says. “Remember, the common denominator of these AI systems is they’re all designed to facilitate decision-making to save time, and resources and increase productivity.”

“AI does not necessarily replace human decision,” Sloane notes. “It shifts how they are being done.”

Recent Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *