We have seen leaders who are charismatic, visionary, inspirational, motivational, intellectual, strategic, democratic and facilitative. While styles differ, leaders need build on a vision, possess high integrity, be transparent while building trust and possess the ability to take others along on their journey. However, the tools to execute that vision, maintain integrity and transparency, influence people and build a better planet are evolving with technology.
Today, the world and businesses need transformational leadership and successful transformational leaders are relying on technology.
Is it any surprise that when global leaders from governments and industry meet at Davos each year at the World Economic Forum, the key discussions are around technology? While Art and culture, social inclusion, economics and trade, education, food security and gender balance are relevant, every discussion gravitates towards technology. World leaders want to know how blockchain can help create more trusted and frictionless transactions, they want to know how bioluminescent algae can be used to meet energy and lighting needs, how water can be harvested from air and how artificial intelligence (AI) can diagnose cancer, prevent complex attempts at fraud
Among other things, AI gives world leaders the power to make the world a safer place, and augment the capabilities of the workforce to deliver exponential gains GDP. And yet, today's leaders are struggling with the idea of an AI First World. They view the approach of Technological Singularity, where autonomous machines enter an infinite and rapid cycle of self-learning and improvement, with suspicion. The belief is that super intelligent bots will destroy jobs and trigger social turbulence.
This makes us ask: "What is the place of AI in leadership?" Leaders have always wanted to augment the capabilities of their workforce. Without doubt, AI presents the most potent opportunity to achieve that. When combined with new technologies like Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Cognitive Process Automation (CPA), Neural Networks, Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning (ML), leaders possess the most powerful tools known in history to drive extreme transformation.
Leaders will need to adaptively structure their organizations and adopt new training methods to prepare employees to collaborate with machines and bots. They will need to resolve a unique leadership challenge: To wed Human Capital management with AI Capital management.
Once AI is integrated into organizational processes it should improve productivity while simultaneously improving employee engagement and experience. The two go hand in hand. While there will be resistance to any change and uncertainty, it will bring us a significant upside. Starting with smaller AI-assisted projects within the organization allows us to demonstrate a better, simpler, safer and more enjoyable work environment. When successful, these projects will lead to a growing demand for AI across the organizations. Good transformational leadership will ensure that these initial AI projects are selected with care under the expert guidance of technology partners who understand their businesses, cultures and how AI can be fit into the idea of building a better planet.