Describing artificial intelligence as a disruptive technology is a huge understatement. We are entering an AI boom, with AI ification occurring in various industries around the world. The big players are all in on the game, many have played their hand and the others are still working behind the scenes. Dropbox just laid off 500 people to focus on AI, Apple is reportedly about to launch something. It all starts.
For the second time in three years, companies face a dilemma: adapt or die.
What is happening now has a similar theme to Covid-19, where companies have been forced to make better use of technology to stay afloat during a few years of lockdowns and travel restrictions. To thrive in that crisis you had to think smart or else you would fall behind or become irrelevant.
Why companies should act on the basis of artificial intelligence
Adjusting in the course of 2020 came out of necessity. This meant escaping obsolescence. Now it’s not quite the same, is it? Bill Gates called artificial intelligence the next big revolution, and he thinks AI will children learn to read and write within the next 18 months. There is no doubt that AI creates new opportunities, but does it also remove them for those who don’t act?
As with those technologies of the past that completely changed the playing field, skeptics will soon have to change their minds. You may think that your company or industry will not be affected. Maybe you think this fad will just pass like affiliate marketing or crypto. You may think that AI developments are nothing but science fiction, and it will be another century before this really takes hold.
If you find yourself in the camp of ignorance or denial, you need to rethink your views and understanding of AI. If you’re still not sure about the power of ChatGPT 4, created by OpenAI and just one of the AI tools used by entrepreneurs looking to get ahead, check out the TED talk from OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman, about what exactly their technology can do.
If you’re struggling to see how AI will change your business, think more creatively about how your competitors, newcomers to your field, or even your customers will replace some or all of your services in the future. Here are three things to do to make sure you adapt instead of dying.
1. Do more research on AI
Start from scratch with a beginner’s mind and discover the state of AI in your industry. What do people use it for, how and why? These people aren’t going to discuss it on LinkedIn or present on stage, they collect tips on forums and chat with friends. They will build prototypes, conduct experiments and seize new opportunities to become AI entrepreneurs. The AI entrepreneurs who pop up in your industry will be the winners who win it all.
As an established company, you have advantages over new players in the industry, but only for so long. If someone offers a product that is almost as good as yours for a fraction of the price, you are fighting a losing battle. With enough research, you can see what some of the brightest minds in the world are thinking about. Use this to find out how to combat potential competitors and see where you could invest in AI yourself.
2. Go back to first principles
To envision the role of artificial intelligence in your business, go back to basics with how it works. Answer the simple question: What are you supposed to do here? What is the real value it delivers to customers? Why does your company even exist? Go deeper and keep going until you get to the simplest explanation, probably in the form, “I create.” [outcome] for [audience].”
Now it’s your job to figure out how to achieve the same result, for the same people, but in the most effective way, using all available tools. Armed with your first principles, which will remain largely unchanged during the AI revolution, you can rethink how you work and deliver value. Can you deliver the same result but faster or cheaper by integrating AI? Can you deliver a better product or service with the power of AI? Find the value and pass it on to your customers.
3. Start integrating AI into your processes
One option is to go all in with artificial intelligence, another is to take baby steps. As you let others take the risks and see where you end up, you still want to get involved on some level. This means that even if you don’t plan on launching a ton of tools and using AI to completely revolutionize your business, you should think about how existing tools can help you create more output. While you don’t need to review everything right away, you should familiarize yourself with the scope of AI and experiment with it within your company.
Ignoring this will make you an observer and then a user, not a creator and a leader. No one else is going to integrate AI into your business for you. They will just see you as a potential future customer of theirs. If a tiger started chasing you, would you rather run away already or stand still waiting for it to get close? A little experience and understanding gives you huge advantages over those who stick their heads in the sand, not even trying to understand how it works or how to use it.
This revolution is not going away. As with the critical upheaval that happened in 2020, entrepreneurs can’t ignore what artificial intelligence will do to businesses. Do you want to do what everyone else does; read the news and observe the hype, or do you want to make your mark and reap the rewards that the first movers are already seeing? Before you declare it’s not for you and turn a blind eye, do some research, go back to first principles and see where you can integrate the technology.