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AI is fundamentally a tool that complements existing human, systemic, and structural resources. It does not and should not be employed to replace them. Operating in or from a void is hollow.
AI is fundamentally a tool that complements existing human, systemic, and structural resources. It does not and should not be employed to replace them. Operating in or from a void is hollow.

Artificial Intelligence: One step at a time

Embracing emerging technology is exciting; however, we must proceed with caution. BARRY URQUHART encourages you to think before you consider implementing AI programs into your business.

It’s easy to get caught in the rush, and it comes with consequences and costs.

The latter may be financial, social, political, cultural, and operational. Take a pause; the business landscape is littered with the fallout of past rushes centred on mass production, just-in-time, cloud computing and online sales.

Contemporary examples feature production zero-emissions, green energy, algorithms, renewable fuels and autonomous operations. And now, there is AI – artificial intelligence.

There are lessons to be learned. Value is difficult to measure, monitor, and control.

It can be, and often is, a weighty issue. Few want to be left behind — the question is, behind what? Sentiments evolve into truisms founded on emotions, intentions, and idealisms, which typically lack objective, substantive, and reasoning.

Generative AI represents the subject matter, and the term is explicit and implicit. Generational, strategic and quantum change, if not progress, advancement and competitive advantage, is significant in scale.

It doesn’t come easy

Enhanced efficiency, effectiveness and productivity of innovations, technologies and disruptive processes may not result in better outcomes, advantages, benefits and rewards for clients, customers, business managers and stakeholders.

Indeed, they can profoundly impact morale, cohesion, job security, employee attrition rates, customer service, and service delivery. Skill gaps become evident rapidly, and internal and external satisfaction levels can decline.

Therefore, installing innovations and change is only an initial phase. Ensuring and optimising ‘fit’ may require attention, time, and resources to facilitate, install and support changes in structures, systems, processes and skill sets.

Australian businesses benefit from mining resources, and this country is foremost in operations, profitability, and adaptability. Autonomous trucks and trains are examples. Admittedly, the sector is populated with risk-takers.

A commonly applied philosophy is founded on three pillars: mine, refine, and define.

Each is relevant and applicable to commerce at large, particularly when addressing artificial intelligence. The key preceding phase is ‘explore’.

"Artificial Intelligence should be secured and implemented for specific purposes or intended outcomes."

Artificial Intelligence has many dimensions; some are customised, while others have been commoditised. None can be secured, installed, and left to its own devices. Inevitably, deficiencies, shortfalls and errors become apparent – with potentially significant implications, complications, and consequences.

Therefore, mining the marketplace for the ‘right’ or most appropriate AI is imperative. One size does not fit all.
Mining, scoping, and documenting the potential will identify the need for complementary, contributing, and supportive infrastructure.

That will enable pre-emptive refinement of the intended introduced artificial intelligence and the existing operations.

Gaps must be filled; only then can outcomes, intended and unintended, advantages and disadvantages, enhancements and improvements, be identified, analysed, documented, implemented, monitored, measured, improved, and provided with optimal infrastructural support.

ChatGPT and other programs are case studies. Pre-existing phones, computers and online systems may be incompatible.

Human overview checking, verification and approval are advisable, if not mandatory.

Legal practitioners, medical specialists, engineering experts and psychology consultants will attest to that.

Set and forget is fraught with potential or inevitable non-identifiable consequences.

First things first

Artificial Intelligence should be secured and implemented for specific purposes or intended outcomes. Accordingly, goals, outcomes and key performance indicators must be determined, with input from internal and external stakeholders.

Variances and refinements may be necessary. They should be tolerated, recognised, respected, and actioned.

Delegated responsibilities need to be agreed upon, and enforced. Transparency and accountability are important. The process is called ‘rhyme and ‘reason’. Beware AI snake-oil-salespeople!

Creative misses

Artificial Intelligence works best from a broad and extensive existing database. Original and unprecedented thoughts, texts, expressions, responses, and actions have severely restrained scopes.

AI is fundamentally a tool that complements existing human, systemic, and structural resources. It does not and should not be employed to replace them. Operating in or from a void is hollow.

However, it comes with inherent costs, strengths, weaknesses, limitations and needs. Each phase, step if you will, needs to be explored, mined, refined and defined before acquisition, introduction, implementation and operation.

I have seen first-hand how customer service will be affected, can be affected and improved because of AI. The benefits are immense when perceived through customer perspectives, particularly personalised customer service.

Think about it - that is intelligent but not artificial.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Barry Urquhart

Contributor • Marketing Focus


Barry Urquhart is managing director of Marketing Focus. He has been a consultant to the retail industry around the world since 1980. Visit: marketingfocus.net.au or email urquhart@marketingfocus.net.au

SAMS Group Australia
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