by David Sweetman
[Today’s Tuesday Reading is by Dr. David Sweetman, MOR Associates Program Leader and Consultant. David may be reached at email@example.com or via LinkedIn.]
I recently watched a movie about a futuristic scientist who invented technology that could carry on a conversation with him, advise him, assist him, joke via memes, and oh-by-the-way, cook his breakfast too. To make the plot even more interesting, the artificial intelligence developed skills the designer did not intend and occasionally saw the world in unintended ways. Was this a modern day movie? Nope. It was Disney’s Flubber, made in 1997. I’m a fan of Robin Williams movies, and this didn’t disappoint. We could call the movie a prescient view of the future, or perhaps just one of many examples of our collective imagination of what AI might do. And that fantasy has recently accelerated in moving toward reality.
There has been plenty written in recent months about using generative AI in higher education, including ChatGPT in the classroom, and impacts to undergraduate writing.
However, some of the earliest AI technologies were designed to help people learn and develop their knowledge. It is to these roots we return today: How AI can help us grow as leaders? I offer three suggestions:
Efficiency, learning, and enhanced user experience. As leaders we can use AI as a tool to help achieve these ends. That was my take; now it’s AI’s turn. After writing my three points, I asked ChatGPT for three points on how AI can help us grow leaders. The AI-generated response (with only slight editing) is below:
Efficiency, learning, and personal growth. How did I compare with ChatGPT? Largely similar with some differences. I’m not sure how I feel about the similarities and differences between my responses and an AI. I asked ChatGPT how it felt about my answers being similar-yet-different and got the expected response from AI: “I do not have feelings or emotions.” And I think that matters. I am thankful for my emotions and ability to be empathetic of others, a human connection that will not be replaced by technology.
There are of course cautions we should consider with this, or any new technology. Managing bias, ensuring equal access, mitigating false information and unintended consequences, creating traceability, handling intellectual property, managing privacy, security, and more.
As this simple example illustrates, AI can be complementary in our leadership toolkit. However, as with any tool, it works great for some circumstances and not as well for others. It also has some limitations to thoughtfully consider when implementing.
Please make your day a leaderful one for you and your team.
P.S. You’ll notice a fresh look to our Tuesday Reading email this week. This corresponds to a similar fresh look and update on the MOR website.
P.P.S. Photo credit. AI-generated via DALL-E.
Which best describes your current pursuits with AI?
Last week we asked what’s something you could do for a colleague that may be going through a tough time?
Thank you for all the feedback from people who felt so moved and touched by last week’s reading, and the important reminder it provided to us as leaders. Investing time in someone who may be going through a tough time was the theme of our responses. However, that took different forms, from proactively reaching out, to doing something small, to simply letting the other know you are available. Which approach is best is largely a function of the circumstances and what the individual needs at that moment in time. Unlike this week’s article, that is not something to automate with AI, but rather is a foundation to the relationships we build with other people.