I recently utilized a ride-sharing program on my smartphone, just like countless other people. It was very uneventful, so I didn’t give it much attention. Ride-sharing is easy and practical, and it has grown into a business worth over $80 billion.
But it didn’t even exist until relatively recently. We had drivers, passengers, and automobiles, but ride-sharing required smartphones in order to function. They brought with them a vast array of conveniences and novel experiences, some of which gave rise to entire industries, that we could never have anticipated.
Similar to a catalyst, artificial intelligence is the next generation of really disruptive technology, with capabilities we are only just beginning to understand. It has changed the way we live and work, making it the defining technology of our day. I’ve never been more thrilled and upbeat in my whole tech career than I am right now. One of my Microsoft colleagues describes AI in this way: You have to use the “new thing” to perform the “old thing” better. You then use the new item to… do new actions. He’s correct.
Think about a case in health care. A software business called Paige is redefining how doctors find, diagnose, and treat cancer by utilizing AI. AI can examine hundreds of digital pathology images, pixel by pixel, and find problems more quickly and accurately with properly trained and calibrated models. Imagine the possibilities these technologies will provide for patients as well as pathologists and doctors. Early disease identification, healthier lifestyles, and more time spent with loved ones are all benefits.
Every business, regardless of size or industry, ought to start considering AI right now. AI is transitioning from its “auto-pilot” phase, which was focused on specialized, purpose-built tools that employ machine learning models to make predictions, suggestions, and automate, to its “co-pilot” phase, where there is a huge potential to fundamentally alter how practically everything is done. Companies that succeed in an AI environment will be led by leaders that embrace AI now and take steps to understand it, experiment with it, and envisage how it may solve difficult challenges.
However, where should they begin? I speak with business executives almost daily who have crucial inquiries regarding AI’s potential. No matter where you are on your AI journey, it is the responsibility of every leader to seize this special moment and utilize this potent technology. You’re not alone if you’re unclear about where to begin or how to proceed. Think about your AI approach in phases, just as you would with any business planning activity. Accept change and agility, maintain an attitude of constant learning, and calibrate and modify your game plan as you go.
Start by Experimenting
Using AI is the most effective approach to learning about it. New, disruptive technology rarely becomes available right away. In this. The majority of the business executives I speak with have used well-known AI programs like ChatGPT or the redesigned Bing. Other alternatives abound, but the goal is to spark your curiosity.
Find out what it excels at and where it falls short by applying it to the work at hand. Use it to create interview questions, come up with ideas for a document, investigate and summarize a subject you want to learn more about or create a note. To assist me come up with ideas for a speech, I used Bing and ChatGPT. I’ve used Microsoft 365 Copilot, the AI integration throughout Microsoft products, to create slides, identify and summarize materials that have a common subject, and rehash email conversations with coworkers. By utilizing and experimenting with AI, you’ll be better able to envision how it may be applied in your company, and you probably know more than anybody else where opportunities and potential exist.
Deploy for Productivity
AI copilots from Microsoft and other companies can be deployed or incorporated in applications to help with or make specific jobs easier when it comes to productivity. GitHub’s Copilot, which was introduced less than two years ago, has already written 46% of the code in its repository and speeds up development by up to 55%. Just think of the things that coders are doing with that extra time. Three out of four customers claim that it enables them to maintain mental vitality while concentrating on more fulfilling tasks. Or, to put it another way, inventing new things and finding new solutions.
Think about the processes and activities that drive your company, such as IT help desk support, payroll, and onboarding. All of these procedures rely on repeating rules and can be made more efficient with AI. This is the motivating factor for a brand-new class of AI software that can handle manual activities and transform a wide range of corporate procedures.
Another approach to consider AI for productivity is in terms of time. Time can either be your greatest advantage or your greatest issue whether you work in fraud detection or as a security analyst. You will be better and more productive at your job if you can reduce the time it takes to sift through a large volume of data-rich, time-sensitive information.
From predictive text on your phone to chatbots on websites to suggested searches when you open a browser, AI is already changing how organizations deliver experiences that are better, faster, more efficient, or altogether new.
As an illustration, PwC is utilizing Azure OpenAI Service to extend and expand its own artificial intelligence (AI) products while also assisting clients in fields like insurance and healthcare to reinvent their companies through the use of generative AI. Through its analysis of hundreds of thousands of user evaluations, CarMax is able to highlight the most important information for buyers regarding each make, model, and year of the vehicle in its inventory.
AI is already improving employee experiences, even at this early stage. According to a recent Microsoft study, 89% of workers and company decision-makers who have access to automation and AI-powered solutions report feeling more content. They claim it’s because they have more time to focus on important work. Nine out of ten respondents indicated they would like the chance to use AI solutions for even more activities and jobs.
In some of the organizations I work with, I can already see that happening. In use cases like customer service, writing aid, or data extraction and categorization, they are exploring increasingly powerful AI. The common theme among all of these is the use of AI to transform user experiences by utilizing existing resources or knowledge.
Build New Things
To use a metaphor from my colleague, the preceding steps are examples of using the “new thing” to do old things better. But how can you use the novel idea to carry out novel actions? What can you do that is totally unique? How can you please your clients while still developing new revenue-generating business lines?
This is the current dilemma facing corporate leaders, and it is a difficult one. The first step towards finding the solution is incorporating AI into your business. Because even while AI will help people and organizations accomplish more, we are still only beginning to define what “more” actually means. But in order to proceed, we must create the circumstances that will enable us to find out what follows next.
One of the most interesting aspects of utilizing AI to be more efficient is that it enables you to think more deeply about a notion or a problem you’re trying to solve. This is true whether you’re using generative AI to generate ideas or to conduct research. It’s not a stretch to think that with this kind of focused effort, businesses will be able to create truly novel and innovative solutions more quickly and benefit from the snowball effect of that pace.
Throughout: Prioritize Security & Responsible AI
Despite all of AI’s potential, one thing is certain. Without safeguards, AI’s promise will not be fully realized. Technology has always accelerated and enabled change. The dangers associated with AI must be controlled because it is no different from other technologies.
The effectiveness of Responsible AI projects depends on at least three factors for any company. First, it requires active, devoted leadership. (Our Responsible AI Council is presided over by Microsoft Vice Chair and President Brad Smith and Chief Technology Officer Kevin Scott.) Second, as we have done, businesses must create inclusive governance models and principles that can be followed. Additionally, they need to invest in new engineering systems, research-driven incubators, and individuals who will make sure that responsible AI concepts are implemented. Hundreds of Microsoft employees are working on this; for many of them, it is their full-time job. Beyond that, we now believe that using AI properly is a duty that everyone must bear, regardless of position.
Every organization’s AI roadmap will be unique, and it will appear different depending on whether you work for a tech business or not. For instance, tech organizations are more likely to have included an intelligent agent in their software experiences. However, there is enormous potential for everyone, and the moment to begin is right now.
Similar to how ride-sharing required smartphones, there are still-under-development companies that will require AI to take off. Most people agree that AI will fundamentally alter all aspects of society. This is extremely deep since we can see real-world applications for both humanity and the IT industry.
The AI market is developing quickly, and cycles inside and surrounding AI are occurring more quickly than ever before. Business leaders currently have a fantastic opportunity to embrace AI and prepare for the significant changes that will soon take place. Businesses that deploy AI have an enormously larger opportunity to take the lead and propel this shift.