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The fate of an organization rests much upon its board. Its board members carry supreme power to ensure the organization follows its course of action. Each board member has to shoulder many responsibilities. The list of responsibilities starts from advisory to the CEO to financial performance and growth management. Besides this, they also have to deal with critical goal related issues and the company’s shareholders and investments. To top it all, they even have a duty to maintain their reputation.
It is like preparing a meal without the proper cooking utensils and appliances. A person can only do much. Sooner or later, you must rely on proper tools.
When it comes to technology, one thing continues to make a massive difference. It is AI (Artificial Intelligence). You already can notice its influence in your daily life through the smartphones and other smart devices you use. You can see the use of AI in every sphere of life today. Its uses have amplified the potential of technology. However, the most important part board members seem interested in just one - what about AI in business?
It is both an interesting and important question that deserves to be answered aptly. The main reason is your board may not seem interested enough in AI. Probably, the response you will get from them on AI may look like this,
“AI is a technology. Let the technical department look into it.”
You can even hear how AI is not a board level issue. There’s another possible response I heard some time ago that I want to share.
“We are not a technology based company. So, there’s no reason to make AI our priority.”
With such responses, it is easier to gauge the possible reactions you may have right now. However, the difficult part is why? Why should AI become part of business discussions? And why should board members ask about it, if they are not yet? Here are some reasons.
Artificial intelligence is a board level problem due to its singular capability to cause exponential disruption. It can shake up worldwide business and customer behavior more deeply and dramatically than in any preceding era withinside the records of the era.
I get better every day with little or no human interaction. But not only incrementally better – once and with enough data to act on a particular objective. Well-developed also operates in a continuous feedback loop that rapidly improves outcomes. With each new degree of accuracy and achievement, AI drives performance even further, until the pace of improvement is unstoppable.
To understand better, take the example of the healthcare industry. In radiology, artificial intelligence already provides clues to serious health issues, such as cancer, that humans may not detect, even in fact. These AI diagnostic systems are learning from the live data of millions of scans, getting better and better someday soon, AI will almost certainly make human-only radiological diagnosis obsolete.
Similarly, AI has dramatically reduced the time and cost of new drug and vaccine development, as we saw with COVID-19. What once took a decade or more and sometimes billions of dollars, can now sometimes take a year and a fraction of the price, thanks to AI. The pharma companies which lag behind in the AI arms race won’t exist in the near future.
AI is already present in the products and advertisements you see online. It is in the entertainment content you consume. It is hard at work determining which stocks, bonds and commodities have been bought and sold, and protects you from cyber threats. In a way that’s hard to even imagine for most of us, AI is already changing who you are and how you and your customers think. Simply put, if you are a board member who believes that AI is not a board level issue, you are probably a liability to the company. Afterall, it must fall under the responsibilities of board members to see where AI is applicable in business.
AI is here to step into the business. And it will happen irrespective of whether you believe it or not. Hence the best course of action should be to not underestimate it. The company should begin to see itself as a driver of AI strategy. Make sure there is a clear and bold strategy as well as AI champions within the board. Educate yourself on what’s already happening in your industry.
Furthermore, while new, AI is complex, and it can have unintended economic, political, social and environmental consequences. Boards need to consider AI governance as part of their reputation management responsibility as they do ESG initiatives. Now is the time to start setting your own definition of responsible AI and apply your own standards to guide the ethical, transparent and fair use of AI can even help to determine the role of the board directors.
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