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Artificial Intelligence Will Change Your World: Start Preparing Now

We know that artificial intelligence (AI) will change how you do your job and how your organization does business. And it just might change the world.

The timing and nature of disruption will vary by industry, and there is no one right way to approach this emerging technology. But as Wharton School professor and technologist Ethan Mollick wrote recently, “The only bad way to react to AI is to pretend it doesn’t change anything.”

While we are not using AI just yet to produce work for our clients, we are closely studying the major tools to understand opportunities to safely enhance delivering client value and the potential to transform the industries we serve. While AI tools can already write emails, job application responses, and student essays, the full impact is yet to come.

So, what has changed so far, and what is coming next?

Where Are We at Right Now?

Today’s AI era began with the launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which registered millions of users in a matter of days. In March 2023, it launched the more powerful GPT-4, which costs $20 monthly. The capabilities are mainly available for free as part of Microsoft’s Bing via the Edge browser. Google is also in the game with Bard, and a new contender, Claude 2 is emerging. The popular editing tool Grammarly embeds AI writing assistance into its product.

AI also makes images. Stable Diffusion, DALL-E, Bing Image Creator, and Midjourney all craft photos or graphics from written user requests. Firefly is built into a variety of Adobe graphic design products.

Hundreds of one-off AI tools have been launched in recent months, most with very narrow purposes and mixed effectiveness. At the moment, it's not clear which of these contenders will survive.

One of the most significant developments to watch for is the rollout of Microsoft’s Copilot, which will integrate AI into the entire suite of Office tools. It promises to summarize documents, write emails, and automate the analysis of Excel spreadsheets.

The Known Risks

Each of today’s AI systems presents risks and drawbacks:

  • AI systems “hallucinate,” sometimes generating inaccurate or fictional statements.
  • Image-creating systems might return biased images or draw from unclear sources.
  • It’s unknown how some AI systems obtain rights to the data used to train their models.
  • It is easy for students to use AI tools to create essays and test answers that earn top marks.

Perhaps the biggest risk is feeding your organization’s confidential or proprietary information into an AI system. Like the Borg of the Star Trek universe, AI systems can assimilate the information they are given into the common hive mind.  


What You Should Do Next

The easiest first step is to ask questions of Chat-GPT or Bing about topics you know best. Writing good prompts is the essential skill for getting value from AI. More specific questions lead to better responses.

What should you ask? AI tools are already great for idea generation and brainstorming – be it new product ideas, the outline of a business plan, blog posts, or other content to drive your business. Don’t expect to cut and paste the responses; use them as inspiration and a starting point.

How Will AI Impact Change Management?

The change management industry is beginning to understand AI tools' long-term potential. Likely impacts include:

  • Reducing time spent on manual data entry and the managing of spreadsheets
  • Helping with sentiment analysis of stakeholder and user surveys, especially for large change projects
  • Automating some customer support functions for common problems
  • Speeding up the general content development process.

We may look back soon and realize that artificial intelligence is an era-defining change. No matter the impact or how AI changes your organization, time-tested change management methods and a trusted organizational change management partner will help you get the most value out of the next generation of innovation.

Michael Sponhour, ABC, Prosci, CCMP, is a Director of Organizational Change with Avaap. Michael has more than three decades of communications and change management experience in the public and private sectors. He specializes in strategic planning, message development, and measuring the impact of initiatives. Michael’s current work includes a focus on expanding the impact of data analytics in public sector decision-making.