Figure 1 The Three Eras of AI
Intelligent Behavior Axis
While there were two AI winters in the past because the expectations of AI did not deliver as promised, I do not foresee a third AI winter. Organizations are prudently leveraging AI in new ways to speed up information for advantage and leverage generative capabilities that use aggregate bodies of knowledge and creations to bootstrap new content. All of this is to assist resources organizations use to create better experiences/journeys for their constituents supported by more intelligent processes that can lead to situational advantage at all levels. This advantage will likely start operational, leading to better tactics and eventually to strategies that adapt to emergent conditions and dynamic management of many scenarios, anticipated or not. The anticipation for more intelligent and assisted behaviors has never been more significant with the advent of AI leverage.
Freedom Level Axis
The real rub with AI revolves around ensuring that AI stays a positive force for good outcomes. It is not a massive problem in the first era where we unwrap the benefits of automation, generation, and the leverage of collective knowledge that goes further than people expect. AI will likely be supervised, and its results can be explainable in the first era where AI's freedom will be carefully watched with teased testing and trained algorithms. The freedom level for AI will be low in this era. As organizations become more confident in AI, the freedom for AI will shift to less supervision, with expandability being the key tether for AI. In the second era of AI, there will be focused assistance to vertical industries, horizontal organizational functions, and individuals to supercharge them with just-in-time knowledge, speedy multi-dimensional sensing, and assistance in complex multi-disciplinary enabled actions. The resources assisted that are carbon-based will automatically demand to explain ability until trust is established in the AI assistance and advice. In the case of automation and bots, outcomes will be overseen with significant testing if danger is involved. The third era is where AI becomes independent, where AI detects, decides, and acts on its own. Knowing that AI will lead here, built on top of the infrastructure of the previous eras, will not be good enough. Organizations will be giving AI goals to drive towards and governance boundaries (constraints) to give AI the desired outcomes as guidance. After the fact, the results will be audited to tweak the goals and boundaries to dial in AI.
Collective Knowledge AI Era
AI significant benefits in this era include the leverage of natural language processing, including image/voice recognition in the content scope, leveraging mining strengths, and event/pattern detection with machine learning. These all help accelerate desired automation that continues to learn and improve. The generative aspect of this era leverages collective knowledge/content to amplify creation and enhance significant personalization while employing adaptive learning to enhance discovery and deepen knowledge. There are considerable time and cost savings as low-hanging benefits of this era.
Persona Based AI Era
The benefits of this era revolve around assisting roles with the proper content and knowledge to accomplish goals. It is performed by speedy resources and advice for roles to achieve steps leading to desired outcomes. It can be at the individual resource level to optimize any size or shape resource, including people, software, or devices at the edge of a remote situation. Having a base of collective knowledge now combined with algorithms and AI component software gives these personas the power to go beyond their base skill level to better optimization. The persona can go beyond individual resources to groups of aggregated resources heading in the same direction, like vertical industries, horizontal supply chains, and functional groups aimed at complex sets of goals.
Guided Results AI Era
AI switches from narrow and focused intelligence to general intelligence in this era. The benefits in this arena are aimed at attaining optimum overall optimization while dealing with change waves on a more real-time basis. AI guides the overall journey, value chain, or process to optimum results with changes in flight. AI becomes a broker for detection, decision-making, and actions appropriate for the situation(s). It creates situational awareness and advantages at the operational, tactical, and strategic levels.
The future of AI is rife with potential, and organizations are just scratching the surface as of this writing. The benefits are significant, and so are the headwinds. A bounty of vendors is waiting to help, but sorting through the list will be challenging. As the AI eras progress, there will be combinations of vendors that will deliver multiple integrated benefit pools. The skills are scarce but will emerge quickly to drive the apparent benefits. Taming AI with a balanced legislation approach that works across legal frameworks and countries will be a long-term goal; however, self-control with great goals and guardrails can give early adopters a significant advantage. I will be delivering more posts on the AI topic, so stay tuned. The oldies and goodies are listed in the additional AI readings section.
Additional AI Readings