Artificial Intelligence is the next big thing – should communicators care?

My answer: You bet!

Last February, CPS sponsored a Symposium on the Intersection of AI and Talent Strategy. What we learned both from experts who are tracking the trends and AI champions who are actually implementing AI initiatives is that these technologies are moving into the mainstream. Change is happening now. Some organizations, the early adopters – the so-called ‘digital natives’ – are using AI to gain competitive advantage. In contrast, the vast majority of organizations in both the private and nonprofit sectors are at the very beginning of the change curve.

Why does it matter to communicators?

A major takeaway from the symposium was that communication is a vital skill for members of AI implementation teams. AI team members must communicate persuasively with skeptical stakeholders, demanding executives, and with each other. And we know that during periods of rapid and often disruptive change, communication is vital in facilitating the change process. This is especially true considering the wild predictions some people are making about the draconian job losses that AI may bring about.

What can we do about it?

In a three-part series, I’ll share my views about how we, as communicators, can prepare ourselves and our organizations for an era of digital disruption.

In my view, there are three imperatives:

  1. We need to learn as much as we can about AI-related technologies and their implications for workers and organizations.
  2. We need to assess AI tools that can help us do our jobs more effectively.
  3. We need to think about ways we can support our organizations and our co-workers

Imperative #1: Learning as much as we can about AI

I’ll confess that a year ago my AI knowledge quotient was close to zero. Helping to design the program for February’s symposium forced me to read about the subject, to examine a range of perspectives by both academics and AI practitioners. Along the way, I discovered some excellent sources of information.

For starters, I encourage you watch this video of the keynote presentations at the February symposium. In her presentation, Kate Lazaroff-Puck, the Global Manager, Future of Work at McKinsey, shares research conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute. She argues that the keys to supporting a bright future of work are remaining open to change, investing in education and skills development, and being consistently willing to shift old ways of thinking to support a new way of working.

A leading authority on the impact of digital disruption, Michael A. M. Davies, a Senior Lecturer at MIT and Founder and Senior Partner at Endeavour Partners, reviews several critical challenges for leaders of organizations—including the need to develop continuous lifelong learning opportunities for workers.

An excellent compendium of AI news is produced by SwissCognitive, a network of industries, organizations, enterprises, and start-ups with a mission of discussing the opportunities, impacts, and development of AI. I follow @SwissCognitive on Twitter and receive its weekly round-up of AI news.

Another excellent online resource is the McKinsey & Company website where you can find podcasts, research reports, and discussion papers that cover a wide range of AI-related subjects, from ethics to leadership.

For those of you interested in the impact of AI on the future of work, I recommend the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute website. Here there are case studies and research that focus on human resources management.

If you are on Twitter,  we’ve been tracking articles and events relating to the symposium theme of AI and talent strategy using this hashtag: #AIapplied.

I’d love to hear from you about AI information sources that you’ve found valuable. Add your comment!

Posted by Carl Zangerl, Faculty

 

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Artificial Intelligence is the next big thing – should communicators care?”

  1. Thanks for sharing the resources. The disruption is occurring so rapidly in so many aspects of our life. I started reviewing the use of Chatbots last year and am amazed at how rapidly the use of bots has occurred and how this is shaping the conversations we are having with and within organizations. And, as NLP becomes more developed, the market and penetration of Smart VPA will explode. Continuous learning is not just for students and graduates, it is for all of us.

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