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Leadership in the Age of AI

Your leadership is already being impacted by growing AI. This is true whether you are leading an enterprise business, running a midsize service agency, a solopreneur getting started, or any organization at all. Artificial intelligence encompasses many different technologies, which, when combined, allow digital algorithms to sense, comprehend, act, and learn with human-like levels of intelligence, at many times the speed.

For context, the Artificial Intelligence Market size worth $641.30 billion, globally, and currently is the third fastest growing market behind blockchain and advanced manufacturing and robotics. This may be why three out of every four executives believe that if they don’t scale AI, they risk going out of business. The reasoning is, if they don’t scale up, their competitors will, ensuring they will be outpaced in a heartbeat. At least, that is the case if they don’t understand the nuances of what AI does well, and what it cannot do well. One of the most overlooked opportunities in this brave new AI world is how leadership’s role both can, and must, change to keep pace.

The Rise of the Machines

AI is best at repetitive, routine tasks which require thinking systematically and consistently. In other words, AI uses logic better and faster than our fact-favoring left brains can. It recognizes patterns and thinks for us in ways both obvious and subtle. Marketers, like myself use it to drive customer conversations, and personalize the experience, which can, at times be delightful, and quite creepy at others.

“We are moving into a society where people are being told by algorithms what their taste is, and, without questioning it too much, most people comply easily.”

Before we write off AI as a way to manipulate us into compliant sheep, however, there are a number of ways that AI is rapidly improving our world with truly inspiring results. Here are a few captured by Forbes Magazine recently:

· Supporting Accessibility for the 1 Billion Disabled

· Impacting Climate Change, Conservation and the Environment

· Helping Resolve World Hunger

· Aiding in Protection of Human Rights

· Improving Education

· Revolutionizing Healthcare

· Combating Fake News

· Creating Resilience During Natural Disasters

This highlights the importance of how we, as leaders, choose to implement AI. It is perhaps the most powerful tool we have at our command, not to replace salaried workers, and not to manipulate consumers, but creating solutions that can positively impact humanity.

How Leadership Must Change

Leadership is the power of decision. My most recent book, Inside Out Smart, (coming soon to Amazon and Barnes and Noble) takes a deep dive into how we think and decide, both consciously and unconsciously. It addresses the vital connection between our left and right hemispheres, our abilities to both intuit and to reason, and the interrelation between our IQ and EQ. In the final chapter on leadership, I address that leadership itself is enormously impacted by AI.

Our culture has for centuries placed far more emphasis on the left-brained activities, as well as our IQ and conscious reasoning abilities, which are precisely where AI outstrips us. We are beginning to understand that the “soft” leadership traits of self-awareness, empathy, emotional intelligence, visioning, values, and innovating are actually more important for organizational sustainability and agility than anything else. They are the tools AI experts generally agree are unlikely to exist in any AI technology in the foreseeable future. This is the new frontier where leaders must lean in, hone our abilities to use our soft skills effectively, and instill them in our organizations.

It doesn’t matter if you are just starting, or are a global entity, your leadership itself is the most important future role for humanity in the face of AI’s growing influence. It’s time to step up, and lead with all your abilities.

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