Leaders will need to develop skills to translate AI into intelligence that shapes the future
Anticipate, readiness, preparedness, forward-looking, foresee, envision, and predict. Powerful words with a common thread in leadership. Leaders in business, politics, arts, culture and civic governing all must possess character, traits, and abilities that these words define as well as imply. This is especially true today. When uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic cuts widely across societies and the globe.
Historically, leaders have prepared by first looking at the past. Ingrained by decades of teachings in universities and management thinking, most of this past looking is rooted in data. Since the advent of computing and computers, the obsession with data continues to intensify unabated. We have increased our abilities to convert data into intelligence. Fueled by the rise in cloud computing, artificial intelligence has become more ubiquitous.
Artificial intelligence has its limitations, however. As I see it, AI is “computing” the next move. The next action. The next likely outcome. The next step in the process. The next intent. Which have tremendous benefits when implemented in ways that help. Help people, whether customers, buyers, clients, patients, patrons, and more, to be served better. Unfortunately, AI can be used to further the quest for more data and turns out to be more of a hindrance than being helpful. Anyone who experiences excessive pop-ups in web experiences today knows what I mean.
Leaders will need to nurture a healthy perspective on the future and its relationship with data. Recognizing that data and artificial intelligence are but pieces of a future puzzle coming together. Whereby the picture of the puzzle is hazy and yet clear. And develop unique thinking on how to use artificial intelligence to chart a course into unknown waters versus just the next action.
I believe leaders will need to sharpen their capabilities to be future intelligent.
One of the more engaging and forward-thinking discussions I had in 2021 was with a member of our next generation of bright thinkers. Isabella Wang is COO of a creative digital agency and the author of a forthcoming book to be released, The Digital Mind of Tomorrow™. We connected over my oft-quoted pronouncement:
“Instead of using technology to automate processes, think about using technology to enhance human interaction.” – Tony Zambito
Isabella interviewed me as part of her research for the book. We explored and discussed the digital revolution, the impact of the pandemic as an accelerant, and how we are entering a new era of human evolution. Isabella explores how leaders can develop a healthy perspective on digital transformation, a digital future, and the role of artificial intelligence. She believes that we are amid a transition from Industrial Revolution 4.0 to Intelligence Revolution 1.0. Whereby artificial intelligence and machine learning remain largely untapped in terms of enhancing human interactions.
She offered this droplet of wisdom recently that I really like:
“This time, the relationship between machines and humans has changed to a two-way conversation. The unprecedented, intertwined relationship between humans and machines fundamentally reshapes the world, leading to a future beyond imagination.”
For leaders, the implication is that the future is not only a one-way conversation with data. Either data from the past or data that predicts the next move. To be future intelligent requires the ability to engage in this very two-way conversation Isabella Wang speaks about. The outcome of this healthy perspective is it will lead to insight and foresight needed to be future-intelligent.
Leading by being future intelligent requires a leader to embrace the Intelligence Revolution 1.0 and its ability to enhance our human intelligence and human interactions. Where we are not relying on just the bits and bytes of data to review the past but on the intelligence, they empower to shape a better future.