The need to refocus AI priorities

The need to refocus AI priorities


If you look at the broad areas of focus for our most advanced AI implementations, they are either replacing a skill (drawing or writing) or increasing sales and marketing. The former will potentially eliminate jobs, while the latter focuses on manipulating people into doing things they wouldn’t otherwise.

Earlier this month, I did a podcast exploring how to create the perfect life. I argued that many of us either never understood this or understood it too late to do anything but develop a ton of regrets. I pointed out that in my experience, many people who acquired wealth and had all the trappings of success were also often miserable. I even shared the old joke where three guys were drinking, two very rich and one not, where the less financially successful one argued he had what the other would never have, and that was “enough”.

A question on social media asked what six words would solve the world’s problems and my answer was “mandatory critical thinking taught in schools” because the problems we typically face often result from poorly made decisions. As a former internal auditor who thoroughly investigated mistakes, critical thinking skills would prevent or reduce shrink, poor career choices, most acquisitions (which ultimately fail), and much of the detrimental behavior managers and employees.

Let’s explore how AI, specifically conversational AI, could be applied to help us all find our way to more perfect lives and our businesses to become more successful, diverse and tolerant.

Conversational AI for Critical Thinking Training

One of the implementations of conversational AI is AI that targets advanced human-computer interaction for training. But while skills training is very important, acknowledging that educational institutions have been inadequate in terms of providing good life skills suggests that companies, where the gaps are negatively impacting performance, need to step up and fill those gaps. shortcomings.

(IRINA SHI/Shutterstock)

Lack of critical thinking skills not only leads to poor outcomes related to fake news and conspiracy theories, but also leads to many preventable mistakes that cripple businesses and careers.

Talk to employees through game-based structures that, over time, teach them to both understand and mitigate bias, especially confirmation bias, that plagues those who don’t know how to ensure the foundations of their decisions.

If we can train employees to make better-informed decisions, to use less courage and more data, and to understand how the information they receive should be verified, and how to avoid compromising the outcome by introducing a new bias, the ratio between good and bad decisions, both in their professional and personal life, should improve significantly.

AI for decision support

Rarely does anyone make a single business decision. Entire categories of decisions are highly repetitive, but we see executives who should know better who is screwing them up all the time. The first time I saw this in person was when I was working in a large multinational. Our division manager decided that, to save money, he would change the sales compensation plan from a plan that was mostly risky and very lucrative for overperforming sales reps, to a plan that was largely a salary, so the top performers were taking a huge, up to 75%, pay cut. Now, anyone who studied Maslow could have told him (and I eventually did) that such a move would be suicidal and would directly cut gross income by two-thirds. He didn’t survive the result and, ultimately, neither did this division.

The problem is that often an executive, especially a CEO, is appointed to a senior position without proper training and experience, which means they will subsequently make a ton of mistakes that will seem extremely stupid to better-educated peers. Conversational AI could, before the decision is made, tap into huge pools of business knowledge and do what some of us analysts are doing right now, which is provide better insight into the results. Given the confidential nature of many decisions made by these executives, analysts are often not engaged, but a computer-blessed trust system should be more acceptable.

Enabling a decision maker to understand through an upfront analysis that a potential decision will be a disaster is a ton better than having them learn the same mistake through trial and error, avoiding many of the problems that too often result.

Mental Health

Conversational AIs are positioned against the need for broader sanity in the marketplace. But one of the issues that the pandemic and working from home has highlighted is the breakdown of work/life balance. This can cause depression, lead to the breakdown of family support systems (divorces), harm children and burn out the employee.

(Bakhtiar Zein/Shutterstock)

Men in particular don’t like to admit they need a sanity check and may be more tolerant of working with a machine-based solution than the perceived embarrassing risk of a human-based solution. . More importantly, with conversational AIs, you can enforce regular check-ins, which would hide people with issues from their peers and better identify emerging issues before they lead to problems in the workplace.

Mental health issues can lead to substance abuse, workplace violence, and preventable accidents that harm business operations and increase costs, especially insurance costs (I’m a little surprised that more insurance do not require this).

Therefore, solving these problems using AI should also have a higher priority.


AI, especially conversational AI, has a lot of potential to increase sales, improve marketing and allow us to better change perceptions around our products, services and brands. But where they should initially focus is on solving the endemic problems plaguing businesses due to ill-informed decisions resulting from a lack of critical thinking or experience, two problems that AI can address. And the pandemic has brought another under-addressed issue into the spotlight, namely mental health. Conversational AIs are particularly good at helping people recognize they have a problem, initially make recommendations on how to fix it, and report to management if that problem is drifting in a direction that could be dangerous for co-workers. or the business.

Ultimately, AI, and especially conversational AI, could be a game-

changer, but its true capabilities should be focused on our most critical needs, and, at the moment, that’s generally not the case.

About the Author: As President and Principal Analyst of The Enderle Group, Rob Enderle advises regional and global companies on how to create credible market dialogue, target customer needs, create new business opportunities, to anticipate technological changes, to select suppliers and products. , and practice zero dollar marketing. For over 20 years Rob has worked for and with companies such as Microsoft, HP, IBM, Dell, Toshiba, Gateway, Sony, USAA, Texas Instruments, AMD, Intel, Credit Suisse First Boston, ROLM and Siemens.

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