This is a guest blogpost by Paul O’Sullivan, UKI CTO and SVP Solution Engineering, Salesforce.
The only constant in technology is change and the next revolution is upon us – Artificial Intelligence. While many of us are eager to harness the potential of AI to boost productivity, there’s a spectrum of approaches emerging. Some adopt a cautious stance, incrementally integrating AI, while others embrace a bold and dramatic response.
The challenge lies in finding the equilibrium that ensures progress without jeopardising crucial human elements like empathy and reasoning, which AI currently lacks. As organisations appear to be forever gearing up for the transformative impact of AI, the focus is now on how to seamlessly incorporate it into business operations.
Is it too soon to draw parallels with historical shifts like the advent of steam engines, electricity, and the internet? The AI era is set to revolutionise work through predictive, conversational, generative, and autonomous capabilities. Within the next year, we will see the advent of new AI considerate business models, the global management of balancing innovation with compliance and evolving digital skills.
New business models in the era of AI
In 2024, we anticipate a convergence of technologies, including Robotics, AI, Automation, IoT (sensors), A/VR, and a continuously expanding pool of data. This amalgamation is expected to drive a surge in data demand, facilitating the development of immersive experiences and more efficient business processes. Retail stores, for instance, may transition from traditional checkout systems to end-to-end automated solutions activated by conversational AI, marking a transformative phase in retail experiences.
Cross-industry innovations are poised to generate new business opportunities, such as the potential for autonomous transportation. Car manufacturers may pivot towards insurance, and the in-car experience, reshaped by self-driving technology, could emerge as a novel avenue for sales, distribution, advertising, or lifestyle solutions.
Balancing innovation and trust
As AI proliferates, there will be a need to balance regulation with innovation. Point-to-point AI solutions across enterprises might face challenges when new regulations come into play but risk-based AI regulation will work to protect individuals, build trust and encourage innovation. Orchestration, validation, and maintaining an audit trail will become paramount to navigate this complex landscape.
Organisations pushing the boundaries and embracing innovation stand to gain the most. The impact of the AI revolution will be swift, with businesses experiencing both rapid wins and losses in shorter timeframes. Success hinges on workforce and customer adoption. A ‘test and learn’ or incremental approach becomes crucial as organisations grapple with the need for quick adaptation. Those unwilling to embrace change may be left behind, while others find new opportunities for growth in the evolving landscape.
The promise of AI cannot be unlocked without being able to trust what it generates. We must all commit to building trusted, transparent, and accountable AI systems as this technology continues to advance.
Evolving digital skills and roles
The landscape of skills and roles within organisations is also poised for transformation. Traditional job functions are yielding to a more dynamic environment where AI-assisted employees can transcend their conventional roles. This shift not only calls for upskilling in AI and data but may also foster versatility within roles, enabling employees to function as salespersons, service providers, and business evangelists.
However, with significant technological advancements, come heightened security challenges. As organisations increasingly depend on AI, the risk of malicious attacks grows. Ensuring robust security measures and a fortified threat vector becomes imperative to safeguard against evolving cyber threats.
As we look ahead, the lifecycle of AI will follow a multi-phased approach. Organisations will loop through phases of explosive growth, the emergence of new tools and services, market expansion, and eventually, full maturity and saturation. The speed at which this cycle repeats itself, driven by incremental innovations, is unprecedented and will shape the business landscape in unforeseen ways.
As we journey through 2024 and beyond, the constant will be the relentless evolution of AI and its profound impact on industries worldwide. We’re only at the dawn of this revolution and what comes next is up to us.