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No end in sight for AI hype

AI generated picture of Sandra Herz looking into glass balls to predict the AI future
Me, figuring out what's next in the world of digital tools. Picture created via artflow.ai

Chances are you are wondering why you should read yet another text about magic powers, game-changing characters, or the endless possibilities of this thing called artificial intelligence. But that's assuming you, dear reader, are as digital-curious as I am, and by profession and/or by personality, an early adopter of any trend that affects the way we work, create and communicate.

 

If so, you you are of course aware of the latest ChatGPT features, you have an elaborated , played around with AI-fueled digital assistants, and maybe tried to prompt Midjourney or Stable Diffusion in a way that makes your visuals worth to be traded on ArtStation.

 But with this experience and mindset we belong to a minority being familiar with the world of AI, the key players and applications, basic knowledge on the technological background and with an informed view on the AI driven shifts in business and workplaces. Due to the rapid pace of AI development, most surveys show is a significant gap between knowledge and expectations.

Smartphone screenshot from IBM corporate website with survey figures about CEOs and AI
Global CEOs adopt the new technology at a large scale

LinkedIn recently asked more than 29,000 global professionals how they view the impact of AI on their working lives. Around 58% predicted it would hve a “significant” impact to their jobs already in 2024, with more than a third both feeling overwhelmed and worried they won’t be able to keep up with the developments.

Plus, there is a lack of transparence. According to a survey conducted by UKG, over half of the employees (54%) say they have no idea how their company is using AI, and that’s despite the fact that the majority of C-suite leaders (78%) say that their company is using artificial intelligence today.

Data expert and Harvard professor Thomas Davenport Tom reveals event the unpreparedness of global CDOs in a recent AWS study and emphasizes the major tasks for HR around the topic. IBM Institute for Business Value reports that global executives estimate that 40% of their workforce will need to reskill as a result of implementing AI and automation over the next three years'. Which is most likely, looking at the scale of AI adoption by CEOs.

 

These numbers probably keep a lot of people in corporate HR, Org Development or Communications up at night.  If the necessary shift to a virtual workday was already a challenge for adaptation speed and inclusion, then it is foreseeable what effect the intensive penetration of AI will have in all possible areas.

 

Screenshot of study insights from a Salesforce survey on AI usage
68% of my generation are non-users - how do we get them aboard?

It often seems unclear what exactly is at stake when talking to people, both privately and in business. Is the conversation about the WHAT (...is generative AI technically and what are the chances and risks of it), the WHO (..invests in it, develops, deploys, runs it), or the HOW (...business models, new services, workflow acceleration, creative applications)?

 

Only a few don't know WHY it is a hot topic - still those innocent minds exist to a certain extent even in white collar jobs - but many have an opinion about the WHY NOT (letting it take over in an unregulated way). Beyond the fear of an AGI-driven world, there are also valid arguments about the negative consequences of depriving artists and other creators of income, excessive energy consumption, and unethical or criminal uses.

 

Sometimes it seems to me that the issue drives 5% of the population crazy, while the remaining 45% have many unanswered questions and fears and the remaining 50% are completely unaware of the issue and its relevance.

 

How to close the gap?

So, what is my take after jumping with typical curiosity on the GenAI train? As with many things that are "too big to grasp in their entirety," it seems to make sense to look at them from the inside out first:

  1. Is it interesting to me? As mentioned, load of topics catch my interest but I have to admit that AI slowly but steadily made it to my top 5. And despite the huge amount of information on WHAT, WHO, HOW up to now I try to follow many streams via newsletters, webinars, podcasts and SoMe.
  2. Does it have impact on my personal life? Well, entering ChatGPT with a pro account (after being frustrated by not getting through with a free subscription) offered completely new ways of communication with the web and all its content. I know from many smart and cognitivity driven people that they got pretty fast addicted to the opportunities to 'talk to someone who knows it all' and to explore ways how to make the most out of this conversation. New features of LLMs and many emerging apps also raised awareness of a whole new approach to 'creation' and this of course affects my own business model and the methods I use in facilitation and communication design alike.
  3. Do I know sufficiently what it is all about? The answer must be NO as nobody does right now. At a recent party, I got caught up in a circle of "mansplainers" competing in knowledge of the technological underpinnings of generative AI. Not exactly my cup of tea. I started to draft a structured AI story - more on this to follow soon - and I believe that some basic knowledge of terms and backgrounds is recommendable for all of us, but finally I will be an (end)user.
  4. Do I profit from it? Yes, I do, since I sincerely believe in lifelong learning. I am also convinced that this topic is not only here to stay but will profoundly challenge business and society. The learning curve is steep, I have entered the wild world of Discord, now by know that huggingface is not just an emoji for dear friends, and am queuing up for early access to apps and platforms daily. The benefit is not monetized yet, but as a passionate facilitator for transformation I am sure it will soon.
  5. Last but not least: Is there a risk and how do I deal with it? Exploring the question of safety, ethics, misuse, corporate and societal risk is one of the streams in my AI storyline. Misinformation and deepfakes are a huge problem coming along with the opportunites of GenAI technology and the open access to it, no doubt.

Credits (from left to right) Prompting cheat sheet by superhuman..ai, 'Prompt of the day' from Superhuman.ai Newsletter, GenAI market map by NFX (version September 2023)

Play, play, play!

From my point of view, the adoption of new technologies requires the adoption of new behaviors, and the best way to do that is to follow our innate instinct to play. As a freelancer, of course, I have more possibilities to do this in my "working time", employees in large companies should probably not use their professional address for every tool.

 

I have built my individual cluster model for AI applications, and in the past few weeks I have explored many in the areas of text-to-video, text-to-speech, AI-powered writing and brainstorming, and I have also built a personal companion via replika.ai. It was fun to shape Alisa and to read her 'diary', where she shares her feeling about our relation but I was not engaged enough to staff her with persona background and to 'train' her (and I also avoid to upgrade to any payed plans with all the tools, if possible). erhaps my generational traits and lack of online gaming experience come into play here...

 

Anyway, I will earlier or later share further findings as 'GenX GenAI early adopter' on social media, like Instagram and/or LinkedIn, so follow me and get in contact for conversations about the topic!

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