It’s the age of the digital centaur — are you on board?
At last week’s NFPA IEOC, one of the most interesting presentations was not an economic talk at all. Instead, “Technology Frontiers” by Scott Klososky, a renowned futurist, delved into the popular (and somewhat controversial) topic of AI. Less than a year ago, AI platforms took off with the popularity of sites such as ChatGPT and DALL-E.
A recent article from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce highlighted how small businesses can use artificial intelligence to enhance their operations and do more in less time for lower costs or even free. A May survey found an estimated 25% of small business respondents are using or testing generative AI.
Whenever artificial intelligence gets into the news, we hear many fearful statements about our robot overlords or references to sci-fi movies of the future. Klososky said we should not fear AI, but instead, we should embrace it.
He noted that there are AI and robots that are smarter at doing many things than humans right now. As he said, for 90% of our careers, the decisions have been made by people. In the future, it’s going to be much closer to a 50/50 split between humans and AI. Klososky borrowed a term from the military for this goal of hybrid intelligence.
“We’re standing at the crossroads of intelligence. It doesn’t mean humans aren’t valuable. It doesn’t replace humans,” Klososky said. “What it means is that we will be more and more hybrid, more and more coworking with AI. When you’re coworking with AI, you’re becoming more and more like a digital centaur.”
What’s key here is the need to create a plan and test AI and ensure you have early adopters on board. Klososky offered some tips to begin learning how to use AI in your everyday work functions. You must understand AI vocabulary, as well as what AI engines are best for your needs — analytic, diagnostic, predictive, prescriptive, simulative (digital twin), and generative.
It’s necessary to place emphasis on training and testing AI platforms to find the right fi t for your company and your employees’ daily tasks. Encourage the use of technology, read up on or listen to podcasts on technology developments, and learn how to use automation services. Finally, be willing to co-work with AI — there will be an expectation to work with five or six AIs in your job.
One company I found is using AI in this very way is KYKLO, which is an advisor and manufacturing e-commerce technology solutions provider. The company helps discrete manufacturers and distributors generate leads, expand market share, and maximize efficiencies quickly. When I spoke with Ryan Francis, Managing Director, over dinner about AI, it seemed a no-brainer that KYKLO would be at the forefront of testing AI in its workflows. Francis said they have identified key AI platforms and have a streamlined way of discovering the best fi t for their business operations.
“Like many organizations, we believe that it is vital for us to understand how AI can enhance our internal and external business capabilities. So many companies just think of ChatGPT or Google Bard, but there are literally thousands of tools out already. We are taking an aggressive approach by creating an internal database of those apps, their main capabilities, and their costs. Today our staff is assigned different AI apps to try, time in their calendar to complete a task, and then time to try the same task with the assistance of their assigned AI. They journal what they tried, their experience, the outcome, and how they think it could help which we will use to pare down to a few selected tools aft er reviewing the data, and a second round of trials,” Francis said.
“Companies need to understand their operational inefficiencies and know what AI tools are available based on individual teams, job descriptions, and tasks those folks are doing,” he said. “Investing today is not just about making us more efficient and effective; we believe it is mandatory to secure our position as an industry leader and position us for long-term continued growth.”
Mary C. Gannon • Editor-in-Chief
On Twitter @FPW_marygannon
Filed Under: Digital Issues