A.I. Expectations: CEO Daily


Good morning.

Jonathan Vanian, who writes the Fortune newsletter Eye on AI, reported yesterday on a survey from MIT Sloan Management Review and Boston Consulting Group that found most companies are failing in applying artificial intelligence. From Jonathan’s newsletter:

“The survey, based on responses from nearly 2,500 executives, found that seven out of ten companies report little to no impact from their A.I. projects so far. Overall, 40% of the surveyed companies that have make ‘significant investments’ in A.I. have yet to report any business gain.”

But the survey also found a key difference between the relatively few “winners” and the numerous “losers” in this category. The difference: the “winners” were those using technology to upend current business practices. They were the ones willing to, in effect, disrupt themselves.

As we have reported here before, the current wave of business technology is fundamentally different from previous business waves. It isn’t a tool that can be plugged into the organization by the CIO. Rather, it raises the possibility of transforming the entire company, and therefore has to be driven from the top—by the CEO. It has to be done by a team that has the capacity to reimagine their most practiced and beloved methods. And it has to be done in a culture that is willing to embrace radical change. In short, technology is the easy part. Reimagining and reorienting the business is what’s hard.

All of which is a reminder of Amara’s law: technological change is usually overestimated in the short term, and underestimated in the long term. A.I. is clearly following that path.

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Alan Murray
[email protected]

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