Unlocking AI’s Potential :
Practical Steps for Business Owners

AI has been around for some time, at the time many of us didn’t know we were using it or that it was helping us. Today, we are more aware.   No matter the size of your business you have access to a variety of AI tools that help you work smarter and implement faster.

 

You may find this exciting like I do or you may be hesitant or maybe you are a little scared. Whatever stage of AI awareness you have as a business owner, you must be aware of what is happening in this space and the opportunities and challenges it poses for yourself and your people.

 

As an agency that specializes in finding the right people to work virtually in businesses like yours, understanding what people are using and why is an ever more important part of our recruitment and assessment phases.

 

I would like to share with you a couple of questions that you can ask someone you're interviewing. It won’t matter the role, what is important is that the person you hire has at least the basic understanding of AI. 

 

To begin, everyone should have a grasp on the fundamental concept of artificial intelligence or AI.  They might not have a deep understanding of machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing and other AI capabilities but you want to know that they are at least connected with what is going on in the world and that includes resources like AI that your customers, suppliers and competitors use.

Sample Questions

  1. Tell me your understanding of AI
  2. What AI do you use today and why
  3. What AI systems would you like to try and why
  4. Do you have any tips or recommendations 

For those that have a strong knowledge of AI you might want to ask them their views of the ethical and social implications of AI. For example;

  1. What is your view concerning privacy that we need to consider?
  2. How might we manage misuse including the bias in algorithms?
  3. How do you feel AI will support you in this role?
  4. What additional training or learning have you completed either formally or informally in the last 6 months?

As you know I’m an advocate for learning in all its forms; learning from your team is a gift for you and for them.  Asking and listening to someone's opinion is empowering for your team members.  You can explore the options together then share with the rest of your team.

 

I also believe that all staff, current or new need to embrace continuous learning.  AI is a rapidly evolving area and those that engage in continuous learning will stay updated with advancements, practises, and applications for your business.  Those that do not, you have to ask yourself what they are offering your business, no matter the role everyone is already using AI and many will have ideas on how it can be used in your business so encourage the learning.

 

In the spirit of continuous learning let me share a little of what I have learnt about AI and importantly how it can be used in your business. 

 

Firstly, there are a number of varieties of AI, the one we mainly know about and use today is Generative AI.  This type of AI has a wide range of applications for business. For example; art generation, content creation, data augmentation, data generation for training other machine learning models basically you can put in video and it can give you text, you put in text and it will give you voice and images and even video representation of the text. Multiple options.  

 

Importantly be aware that any output from AI is based on what you have input so if you input a poor question or aren’t specific about any output then you will get average outputs.  

 

Another critical observation I’ve made which is very common is that often and I mean a lot of times the output particularly text is not even true.  Yep you read that correctly AI will make up something, even quotes.  Anything that comes from AI you MUST fact check.  DO NOT TRUST what comes out.

 

AI should be making your life easier, enabling you to save time and work faster but it is not a person and can not replace the heart and strategic thinking of a human.  Use AI to support your needs not to replace you or a team member and you will benefit greatly.

 

With the many applications for businesses.  A few things to be aware of in terms of ethical, social and legal concerns

  • Data privacy and protection - ensure your data is protected, particularly when dealing with confidential, personal or sensitive information.
  • Intellectual property (IP) rights - double check that you can use output images, you may be infringing on someone's intellectual property
  • Reliability and accuracy of AI outputs - fact check, double check and ensure that the output is correct.  DO NOT TRUST AI outputs as truth
  • Discrimination and bias - Do not rely on AI output for quality, fairness or accuracy especially when it comes to equity of people. As above, check, double check and review.

What  AI tools and resources are you using in your business?  I encourage you to think about it and start planning because not only is AI developing quickly, it's evolving at a rapid rate.  We are already moving to another phase of AI called Hybrid AI, this is where we teach and deploy AI with human traits. The best examples are bots.  How many bots in the past have been really terrible, well today you might have noticed they are getting better, why - Hybrid AI solutions. 

 

Whatever AI you use today do not lose touch with what is coming, stay connected and keep learning.  And, remember AI CAN NOT REPLACE A PERSON, use it as a tool like any business tool and you will reap rewards like time saved, inspired creatively and so many others. 

 

I have added AI to our weekly team agenda so that we can talk about what we have learnt, share knowledge and discuss.  I like to encourage critical thinking and who doesn’t want more of that focused on their business. How are you embracing AI in your business?

FAQ

Are you ready to unlock your full potential? 

Then talk to me about a virtual team member who will support you so YOU can focus on what you need to be doing.

Until next time. Stay fabulous!

 

HEATHER DISHER
CEO and Managing Partner

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