My One Big Fat Digital Business Prediction For 2023
There are all kinds of top 10 predictions for the year ahead. As I go back to 2014 for each year, I want to limit mine to a single half-baked prediction to ponder.
For the year ahead, the key trend, as yours truly sees it, is “artificial intelligence for all.”
Harnessing the power of AI will no longer require being a Ph.D level data scientist, grappling with statistical probabilities, designing algorithms or worrying about the viability of test data. (Though it’s still extremely important.) You just use AI like you would use a search engine. I am of course referring to the likes of ChatGPT.
AI has been moving towards democratization for some time – accessible to everyone without the need for expertise. Salesforce has had its Einstein platform in play for some time, and Grammarly has offered AI-powered writing help. Of course, many other applications use AI behind the scenes, and we all encounter AI-powered chatbots in our “customer experience journeys.”
Lately, as exemplified by ChatGPT, AI-powered insights are now as easy to use as a search engine. In fact, the likes of ChatGPT may represent the next generation of search engines, with requested information bundled together in a single flowing story, versus lists of links.
While I have questions about the legal implications of pulling down AI-generated text for purposes beyond personal inquiry (I’ll write about this topic soon), such democratized AI tools can help reshape and inform our aspirations in many ways. ways that were not possible before.
For example, as a highly knowledgeable assistant who can help you start a new business. Entrepreneurship is something that everyone should experience in their lives, several times if possible. But often people throw themselves on an idea and a whim, and it’s often hard to get solid insights into what the possibilities are or aren’t. The US Small Business Administration has a great mentorship program called SCORE in which retired executives and other volunteers will help you grow your idea. Of course, you can get great financing tips and ideas from shows like Shark Tank. AI cannot replace such expertise, but can help learn and validate ideas as they come to mind, whether for startups or new ideas within existing organizations.
“There are also many use cases for putting AI directly into the hands of non-technical end users,” says Dr. Vishal Sikka, Founder and CEO of Vianai Systems. “We’re seeing it beyond the enterprise with Generative AI where anyone can create image mashups and other things,” he says. “In enterprises, AI can be put directly into the hands of non-technical users through causal inference. There are other such examples in healthcare and other industries, where AI can augment the work of the user, say a doctor, by putting those AI tools directly in their hands.
The potential for democratized AI to help new business ideas is documented by Ethan Mollick, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. “ChatGPT might provide incredibly useful help along the way,” he explains. “It is no substitute for education, rather it provides a tool to help founders in a very practical way. And it’s especially valuable for founders who otherwise wouldn’t start a company because they’re held back by a perceived weakness, whether it’s poor writing ability or a lack of experience with topics like market research.
Or consider how medical professionals can now just get insights from AI-powered platforms to improve patient care. Alignment Health, for example, uses AI to “play the pivotal role of a physician in the family through its AI-powered AVA platform. Leveraging data-driven and actionable insights to provide better care outcomes and improved care experience,” said Dr. Arta Bakshandeh, chief medical informatics officer at Alignment Health. “This high-tech system powers every virtual care interaction with personalized and predictive information about each member. By unifying more than 200 unique member datasets with more than 13,000 individual characteristics and then assess the data by 170 plus artificial intelligence models.” The tool “also predicts care alerts such as risk for hospitalization and disease propensity, and engages clinical teams to intervene before such early warning signs turn into a true emergency,” Bakshandeh adds.
AI is not the last word on things, but rather can provide useful nudges to open up new ways of thinking. ChatGPT’s output “works even better to fuel personal exploration of startup concepts,” Mollick says. “And you can always tell ChatGPT to review the results as well.” An innovator can also ask ChatGPT to outline a business plan for this idea. But, again, the value is in going deeper.”
Many ideas or insights can be provided by the ChatGPT output. “The fact that some may be bad, or inaccurate, doesn’t matter because no entrepreneur will be able to simply follow the AI, or get enough useful advice to run a business,” says Mollick. “Instead, it is the lowering of barriers that is important. And these answers are more than good enough to help point to the next steps.”
Again, AI tools like ChatGPT are good for recommendations, but that’s as far as it goes. “I would be careful not to take specific advice from the AI too seriously, but as a motivator for next steps, and a way to outline potential plans, it can be very useful. AI is not a replacement for advice from professionals, or even for classes on entrepreneurship, but it fulfills a different role: it lowers barriers and multiplies the often stretched time of the busy founder.
Artificial for everyone.