In today’s rapidly evolving AI landscape, leaders are faced with the daunting task of distinguishing between genuine innovation and the often overwhelming and misleading buzz. This new era demands a deeper understanding beyond just economic implications. Leaders must grasp the societal impacts, ethical quandaries, and the continuously changing regulations. It’s a journey of harnessing AI’s potential, establishing trust, and aligning technology with human-centric values.


The SwissCognitive AI Navigator: Practical Leadership Guide To Navigate The AI Era – Discerning AI’s Real Impact Amidst the Noise

Evaluating the Authenticity of Public Discourse

The conversation around Artificial Intelligence has grown so pronounced that, as Bo Percival quipped, “You know, it’s become a thing when even your neighbour starts talking about it.” Once an abstract concept that was easy to brush aside, the narrative has shifted dramatically. As Matt Hervey put it, “Not very long ago, AI was rather abstract. But today, with the AI platforms being publicly accessible, it cannot be ignored.” This seismic shift in the general conversation surrounding AI is evident everywhere. Linda Leopold notes, “Family, friends, the media, colleagues, experts, non-experts…everyone is talking about AI.” Indeed, the discourse has evolved from a passive interest in AI to an active engagement with its future prospects, as Bo Percival observes.

It’s crucial to acknowledge the evolution of AI, from being an abstract notion to its current ubiquitous presence.

This metamorphosis has made AI a staple in daily discourse, underscoring both its transformative potential and the diverse opinions shaping its trajectory.

However, there’s a caveat. Many derive their understanding of AI from the media, which unfortunately doesn’t always offer a balanced perspective. It swings between extremes – from looming threats to boundless promises. “The public debates are driven either by hype or fear,” states Morten Irgens. Consequently, as Patrick Bangert articulates, “The hype around AI has escalated, causing confusion for non-specialists about the reality and the future potential of AI.” While the public’s understanding might sometimes lack nuance, their participation in these discussions is invaluable. Their insights often illuminate broader societal implications.

For technology to develop to its true potential, societal acceptance is key.

Innovations like ChatGPT are a testament to the importance of public engagement, allowing users to explore AI’s utility firsthand. Linda Leopold highlights this sentiment, saying, “Today, even non-experts have a very strong opinion about AI. But it is good; we need to have this public debate.” But leaders must tread carefully. Our innate gravitation towards negative news, stemming from age-old survival instincts, combined with media’s inclination for sensationalism, can distort the narrative. Therefore, as Peter Cunningham advises, “Leaders must adopt a rational, expansive view amidst the noise surrounding AI development, discerning genuine risks from hype, and while considering diverse perspectives, also personally experimenting with these technologies to understand their potential and limitations.

Leaders aren’t necessarily expected to grasp the intricacies of AI. Still, they must comprehend its relevance for sustained business viability.

AI’s allure isn’t just its immediate offerings but its potential to anchor long-term business strategies. Robert Marcus offers a compelling vision, saying, “AI promises unimaginable breakthroughs in science and engineering, and solutions to our greatest challenges. It will create more innovation, impact, and wealth than any force in history. And we’ve barely begun.

To truly harness AI’s potential, one must stay abreast of current trends, seek factual information, and experiment with the technology.

Yet, understanding the promise of AI also requires patience. The restructuring AI promises in industries and organisations won’t be instantaneous. Peter Cunningham aptly reminds us, “We humans don’t change as quickly as we’d like to think. Change is a gradual process.” As James Clear also writes in his book of Atomic Habits, “A very small shift in direction can lead to a very meaningful change in destination.

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As we navigate the AI landscape, patience, continuous effort, and methodical integration will be pivotal. These gradual changes will pave the way for AI’s enduring legacy in our future.

In summarizing, it’s clear that while AI has sparked both excitement and trepidation in the general populace, deeper, more nuanced discussions are often limited to those well-versed in the field. As Semih Kumluk observes, “The Public debate is driven by fear and excitement, but the real debate remains confined to the more technologically literate.” Leaders must navigate this landscape wisely, eschewing the hyperbole of daily news in favour of more thorough sources. Emulating practices like Bill Gates’s “think weeks” can offer profound clarity. As Peter Cunningham suggests, leaders should indulge in reflective understanding. In these dynamic times, such thoughtful contemplation might well be the bridge between mere reaction and visionary leadership.[…]

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Chapter Contributors:

Alessandro Curioni, IBM Fellow, VP Europe and Africa and Director IBM Research, Zurich

Andrea Latino, Digital Lead, Innovation Growth Hacker, Nestlé

Antonio Russo, Head of Strategy and Analytics, Deloitte Switzerland

Aruna Patam, Head – Generative AI Practice, Insights & Data, Asia Pacific Region, Capgemini

Bo Percival, Senior Adviser, Innovation (Ventures), UNICEF

David Wood, Chair, London Futurists

Isabelle Flückiger, Non-Executive Board Member, AEW Energie | Vice Chairman of the Board Of Directors, Limmatkraftwerke | Expert for Innosuisse

Jair Ribeiro, Analytics and Insights Leader, Volvo Group

Jarrod Anderson, Global Head of Artificial Intelligence, Senior Director, ADM

Jürgen Pulm, Chief Digital Information Officer, Wealth Business: Natwest Group | Non Executive Director, QESTIT (QCENTRIS)

Linda Leopold, Head of Responsible AI & Data at H&M Group

Matt Hervey, AI and IP Expert; Head of Artificial Intelligence Law, Gowling WLG (UK) LLP | Co-editor General Editor of The Law of Artificial Intelligence

Morten Irgens, Strategic Director to the presidents (rectors) of Oslo Metropolitan University and Kristiania University College, Director, CLAIRE, Adra and NORA

Peter Cunningham, Head of Leadership Co-Director, Geneva Leadership Alliance

Semih Kumluk, Head of AI and Digital, PwC, United Arab Emirates