Experts are divided about whether enterprises need a Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer (CAIO) and how the role relates to data scientists and CIOs. The argument against the role is that you don’t want a C-level position focused on a technology. In this view AI is a tool and it makes no more sense to hire someone at that level just to implement AI than for other tools.

SwissCognitiveThe term “artificial intelligence” has morphed away from referring to artificial general intelligence (AGI). AGI is the pursuit of “true” intelligence, architected to mimic biological intelligence. That is what you see enslaving mankind or falling in love in the movies every summer. Today “AI” is an umbrella term that includes more practical and readily available technologies.

Machine learning, deep learning platforms, natural language processing, natural language generation, virtual agents, speech recognition, hardware integrated AI, decision management and, ultimately, big data and analytics are part of a single “AI landscape” and necessary for a competitive enterprise strategy.

We all are data companies

Whether leaders realize it or not, every enterprise is a data company. Amazon started off as an online bookseller with a strategy of making massive investments in technology. Their commitment to “data-first” led them to become one of the biggest innovators in AI. This enables Amazon to compete and ultimately disrupt diverse markets from cloud infrastructure and e-commerce storefronts to streaming media and grocery retail and delivery. To a business school from the 1980s they may look like a conglomerate. Amazon is a new type of business platform that demonstrates you can layer many businesses on top of a learning organization.

The lesson here is that no business is safe anymore. Because of this AI landscape, competitors can come from anywhere, even in ways the internet didn’t allow. AI also has unprecedented potential to drive “winner-take-all” disruptions which means simply copying or following the leader is as risky as doing nothing. Who are your second and third favorite online book sellers?  […]