Now hiring AI futurists: It’s time for artificial intelligence to take a seat in the C-Suite
(Source: zdnet.com)

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(Original link: zdnet.com)

special feature AI and the Future of Business
Machine learning, task automation and robotics are already widely used in business. These and other AI technologies are about to multiply, and we look at how organizations can best take advantage of them.
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COVID-19 disruption has left enterprises with no choice but to reassess digital transformation investments and roadmaps. While less important projects are delayed, transformation projects involving AI and automation are receiving a lot of attention right now. In just the last 60 days, the adoption of varying levels of AI technologies across the enterprise surged with an incredible sense of urgency.
One area where AI can make a tremendous impact -- yet one we're not really talking about it -- is modeling future scenarios based on myriads of new data stemming from pandemic disruption. Beyond automation, adding an AI Futurist as a virtual strategic advisor to the C-Suite can help executives navigate this Novel Economy as it takes shape over the next 36 months. In a time when no playbook, expertise, or best practices exist, perhaps this is AI's moment to shine.
AI in the Enterprise is an Essential Item Almost overnight, organizations were forced to hyperfocus on critical priorities and accelerate their digital transformation from legacy, analog-first models to digitally native systems, workflows, and processes. Many organizations weren't fully prepared for such a disruptive and swift response, however, pushing stakeholders to narrow their focus toward pressing issues and burning platforms.
Among cloud and cybersecurity investments, the adoption of artificial intelligence in various forms is also soaring. Forrester predicts that the COVID-19 crisis will only further accelerate enterprise automation as it becomes a boardroom imperative. Investments in AI-powered applications can help place organizations on a more advanced path toward future disruption-proofing and overall competitiveness, now.
AI, machine learning, and automation are each -- in their own way -- fast-tracking transformation to scale critical areas of demand and capacity where humans can't. These instances include: automating repetitive operational workflows; engaging increased volumes of customers in digital service channels; organizing and interpreting data to improve human decision-making in critical business areas; and understanding evolving behavioral patterns to optimize for new standards in customer engagement and e-commerce.
AI adoption is also accelerating across manufacturing, logistics, pricing/inventory management, and supply chains. Whether it's robotic process automation (RPA), conversational AI, real-time and predictive analytics, or deep learning black or glass box modeling, AI is helping organizations ensure business continuity, stabilize against disruption, optimize processes, flow, and performance, and more accurately predict demand and opportunities. Additionally, AI can mitigate risk and promote business resilience beyond continuity to survive and thrive against today's unknowns.
Prioritizing the Intelligence in AI In February 2020, I visited Mumbai to speak at the NASSCOM Technology and Leadership Forum on the " State and Future of Quantum Computing " in the enterprise. At the time, COVID-19 was spreading around the world.
In my talk, I concluded that even though quantum computing capacities could be feasible in ten years, enterprises needed to form -- now -- a center of excellence to start understanding, experimenting with, and participating in useful quantum-related forums. The idea isn't to jump on the next buzzwagon, but instead, build necessary expertise now and develop iterative roadmaps as quantum computing evolves. This would help organizations evolve -- through experience, expertise, and strategic partnerships -- to keep up with or stay ahead of what's next.
The same is true for artificial intelligence, especially in an era of COVID-19 disruption.
Following my presentation, I was asked about quantum computing's potential to quickly find a vaccine should those capabilities exist today. While ultimately possible, I emphasized the importance of today's AI capabilities to hyper-focus on such tasks. We have incredible supercomputing technology available today that we're not using to its full potential in the enterprise. We need to escalate strategic AI roles to the C-Suite to navigate the many unknowns we face.
Like with quantum computing, organizations would strategically benefit from establishing a center of excellence or "office of innovation" around artificial intelligence to advise CxOs (and boards) to survive and thrive in this Novel Economy.
Who's Defining the New Normal? Meet Generation-N Who's leading your digital transformation? Is it the CEO, CFO, CIO, the board, customers, or…? Consistently, the answer is: COVID-19.
Who's leading the Digital Transformation of your company?
Many of today's AI implementations that make today's tech headlines though are desi...