AI Impacts on Business: Interview with Elin Hauge
Elin Hauge is an internationally acclaimed professional speaker, AI strategist, and Board of Director member with expertise in artificial intelligence (AI). As a futurist and futuristic thinker, Elin is on a mission to demystify artificial intelligence (AI), building bridges towards real value creation for businesses and society.
This interview is based on “burning questions” about AI and business. Below are the takeaways.
What are the Misconceptions Regarding AI and Business Strategies?
People think that Artificial Intelligence (AI) must be considered a separate entity with its own strategy. On the contrary, it must be seen as a toolbox used to enable and inform the business strategy.
If we concentrate Concentrating on AI alone, it could be risky because it will bring to lose focus on the business objectives. AI supports business strategies; therefore, it must align with an organisation’s goals, markets, customer needs and business strategy. Thus, Artificial intelligence should not be seen as the end goal; instead, it must be utilised strategically to get maximum benefits.
A View of Digital Transformation and Technology
There are three possible strategies for digital transformation:
focus on core business
focus on strategies to grow
explore new and radical business opportunities
Growth potential sits in using technology to diversify, explore new territories, or create new segments within the existing market. Elin suggests that businesses should direct some of their efforts in one direction without putting all the eggs in one basket.
Every company need to maintain the core and grow it. However, the core could be entirely related to legacy. This is why businesses should explore complexity and new business opportunities. Disruption will likely happen here, but no company can afford to discard the core business.
Elin suggests that future-focused innovations should interest only one part of business activities in preventing losing focus and resource dispersion. A digital transformation should be part of an overall business strategy, remarking that to be part of a successful transformation – one should not replace all old with new but instead use technology to expand an already-existing business and explore potential new growth paths.
Speaking about the security of everyday AI tools…
The main concern for Elin is related to the potential human errors caused by AI that mimic human behaviours; Individuals could follow wrong paths by receiving emails sent by AI that appear original, potentially taking them down unsafe actions that lead to high risks for security allowing not approved entry and take control. Gathering information and then disclosing them or sending messages within the systems.
There are concerns that AI could be exploited to develop malicious software which poses unknown and difficult-to-identify threats, further complicating managing and responding efforts.
And Elin also warns that AI could adapt to multiple security systems. Thus, a remark about monitoring malicious trends and providing e proper tools to make the company’s environmental threats and risk-free situation.
The three Vs: Velocity – Variety – Volume. All three will increase with the widespread adoption of generative AI.
Is a Redefinition of Education with AI needed?
Elin has a positive view about how many universities now have “lifelong learning” programs. However, she also thinks this is not enough because offering more in-depth programs, like complete degree courses, is essential, not just short learning experiences.
She believes we must also rethink how we teach at the university level. We need to make education flexible and accessible for everyone. For example, she has just started studying law while still working. She needs to be able to learn online and at her own pace.
Elin highlights the value of the skills and knowledge of mature workers, and they need to upgrade /upskill to keep up with technology.
She also raises a good point: the problem of learning costs:
• Will businesses pay for their employees to learn new skills?
• What about people who lose their jobs or already have student debts?
In these scenarios, Elin remarks that AI represents a valuable resource at a lower cost.
Workers’ Empowerment and Learning with AI
In terms of work with AI, Elin says we are still getting used to how AI can be a tool for everyday tasks.
But the big problem is that many people do not really understand what AI can do. For instance, some people cannot distinguish between AI that generates language and search engines, which could lead to confusion.
So How can AI help employees and managers? Teaching new skills (upskill) and improving existing skills (reskill) to let people work effectively with AI technologies.
She wants people to know that AI is not magic but is based on complex maths and statistics. The core of generative AI is the application of maths and statistics to predict the next word, sentence, phrase, or collection of pixels. The outcome is then a text or an image.
Looking ahead, she confirms that some jobs might disappear because of AI, but new jobs needing different skills will also appear. So, teaching AI to young people and current workers how to understand and use these new tools is essential.
Is there a problem with a lack of Use cases for businesses implementing AI?
Elin believes AI can significantly change industries, like consulting, where much documentation is involved.
One example is that AI can be used to create executive summaries and look for missing content in long documents. This is not just the big AI models like GPT-4 but other AI tools dealing with text, images, sound, etc.
One use case she mentioned is in the real estate industry. Due diligence, or the process of checking everything before a deal, involves reading loads of documents. AI could help by creating summaries and finding specific things in these documents much faster than a human could.
The potential of AI also sits in writing the company’s articles. Corporations could feed AI models with ideas they want to communicate, and the AI would write. This does not mean AI would produce the ideas, but it could help deliver them properly.
However, the current AI models are imperfect, such as not understanding the underlying intention or losing track of context in long texts. However, we are currently in the infant stage, and these tools will improve quickly. In the future, they might even be able to stay on track throughout an entire book.
A reflection on the European market regarding AI implementation
Considering that most European companies are small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), they may lack the resources to invest in creating their own AI systems. Alternative solutions are based on identifying AI service providers with an existing services portfolio already created and also customisable. The services can be tailored with strategic plans and activities and thus still able to get the benefits of AI technology.
According to Elin, one promising area related to AI applications is customer service, providing automated responses to common queries.
What are the reasons why people are so excited about AI that can justify this hype?
We have big data; we have digital processes. The natural next step is using mathematics and statistics to make sense of these data and processes.
Humans have always been excited about new technologies that can leverage human skills. That is what AI does at an unprecedented scale.
Thanks to Elin for these precious insights, which can augment the AI awareness in the hyper for this technology!