CIOs are working on an AI revolution

It is surprising how much focus there was on artificial intelligence at the Gartner Symposium in Barcelona. Generative AI is at the top of the Gartner hype cycle and CIOs are keen to understand and figure out what they need to be advising their organisation’s senior management about the technology and its business implications.

Gartner splits AI into two types. The first is the off-the-shelf products that companies like Google and Microsoft embed in office productivity and collaboration tools. Such software targets efficiency and improves employee efficiency. Enterprise software providers are racing to integrate AI capabilities to help streamline the business processes their software manages.

The second Gartner AI category, is what it deems, “game-change” technology. No one is certain what will and won’t work, but game-changers, pave the way for the next Uber. In other words, the use of AI is highly disruptive. Gartner sees opportunities for using AI to radically change drug discovery.

In education, generative AI could provide one-on-one tuition, identifying where an individual student is struggling with a concept or problem. The disruptive uses of AI should not takeaway the human. The AI is able to identify possible drugs far faster, enabling researchers to focus only on testing those more likely to yield a positive outcome. The teacher does not go away as it is easier to tailor tuition for the individual student, if the AI can identify the areas to focus on.

In her keynote presentation, Mary Mesaglio, distinguished vice-president of the Digital Futures group on Gartner’s CIO research team, said people have completely got the wrong idea of where AI systems fit alongside society. People often assume AI cannot show empathy, but for some people, an AI offers digital disinhibition, where people who are afraid to talk to a human therapist feel more confident talking to an AI.

Are they more intelligent than us?

If the Turing Test is a measure of machine intelligence, then generative AI has shifted the goal posts. These days, generative AI can do a very good impression of a person. In a recent LinkedIn post, MIT Alumni, Sanjay Basu, said that a machine equipped with cutting-edge generative AI models could potentially fool an interrogator in a Turing test. This is not due to true intelligence, but simply because the machine is able to generate increasingly human-like responses. He called such a system, “A true mimicking machine exploiting what a human actor wants to believe.”

What these discussions show is that we are only at the very start of an AI revolution that will change businesses and society. Gartner believes CIOs will be tasked with leading the innovation drive.

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