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Is Your Organization in an AI Race to Nowhere?August 15, 2023

Generative AI is urgently real – and not just in the context of technological singularity or global catastrophe. Less macabre, but equally unsettling, is the pervasive sense that mankind is on a rudderless ship with no captain. Call it an AI arms race or a “tragedy of the commons,” generative AI is an irreversible era change. Steering your organization in a methodically determined direction has never been more vital to realizing the opportunities and avoiding reputational risks.

A few critical guideposts for navigating this journey:

Bring everyone to the table, early and often.

Deliberately charting an AI course requires a modern-day Knights of the Round Table. Generative AI is a revolutionary aspect of digital transformation and presents a host of ethical, privacy, governance and regulatory considerations. Just because it involves tech doesn’t mean the buck stops with the CTO. Understanding and leveraging generative AI requires a multi-disciplinary approach. Gather input and perspectives from decision-makers across the organization via an AI task force that meets regularly.

Plot your AI North Star.

Conduct an audit to assess the existing challenges and opportunities AI presents and then calculate the risk-reward ratio of possible AI action vs. inaction. Methodically surveying the landscape as an integrated team allows a variety of stakeholders to determine the organization’s common AI objectives. This will be your AI compass toward a clear destination.

Be transparent.

If you’re using or developing AI solutions, provide upfront declarations that clearly notify users that they are interacting with AI or AI generated content. Explain the AI solution’s purpose and guarantee regulatory compliance. False information manufactured by AI, otherwise known as AI hallucination, dictates that organizations also institute harm mitigation measures to keep advanced technology in check.

Play “Red Light, Green Light.”

When introducing AI solutions, every “green light” should be fully vetted by the task force and cautionary pitstops should be taken along the way. During these “red light” checkpoints, evaluate the effectiveness of harm mitigation measures and ensure AI alignment not only with tech parameters, but with organizational values as well. Confirm the compass is still pointed towards the North Star. This should also involve diverse representation to counter generative AI’s systemic bias.

Red Team Everything – not just tech.

Red teaming involves assuming the role of the bad guy and challenging your systems before deployment. It’s common practice for software engineers, because you’re basically hacking your own creation before the real bad actors get the chance. The very present generative AI danger of misinformation demands that businesses, governments, brands, and organizations apply this same testing and predictive modeling approach to communications. Identifying and combatting weaponized information is an art and a science that will be critical to maintaining control of narratives and reputations.

Prioritize people.

The implications of generative AI for humanity are simultaneously thrilling and threatening, so anticipate how your employees will feel when they learn about plans for AI implementation. On the one hand, they’ll eagerly embrace AI tools that free them up from busy work, but many may also question their job security. Prioritize your people through forthright internal communication. Share the North Star vision with employees, provide them with guidance on how to use AI in the workplace and communicate their value to the organization.