AI in the Metaphase
In their insightful 2020 book, “Competing in the Age of AI: Strategy and Leadership When Algorithms and Networks Run the World,” Marco Iansiti and Karim R. Lakhani position AI squarely within its metaphase. They emphasize the need for AI management to embark on a meta-process of wisdom to effectively grapple with the exponential growth of AI’s digital power colliding with traditional structures. The book lays the foundation by describing the development of AI in its first eight chapters, setting the stage for understanding AI’s metaphase. The authors aptly refer to the rapid progress of AI as the collision of digital forces with traditional firms, an acceleration catalyzed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic compressed what was anticipated to take decades into a matter of months, with organizations like Mass General Hospital rapidly transforming into horizontal, digital units to tackle the COVID-19 surge. This seismic shift demonstrates that the age of AI has arrived, necessitating urgent digital transformation for businesses to not just thrive but survive. Yet, as the authors emphasize, “Without enlightened leadership, the best data, analytics, or algorithms will not lead to wisdom.” The conventional assumptions about strategy and leadership no longer apply in this new AI era.
Shaping the Unbounded Potential
“In this new age of AI, many time-honored assumptions about strategy and leadership no longer apply.” -Marco Iansiti and Karim R. Lakhani
This statement underscores the need for leaders to evolve and adapt to the digital operating models framing our world. Understanding how to manage, transform, grow, and control businesses in an era of virtually unbounded potential impact is paramount. An AI leader of today does not need to be a data scientist or analyst. Instead, they need to possess the ability to bridge the transformations occurring due to digital advancements. This entails providing education, mentoring, and support for the human side of the process as it interacts with new operating models, a realm encompassing the soft skills and nuanced aspects of management and leadership.
The New Wisdom of AI
In conclusion, the metaphase of advancing Artificial Intelligence necessitates the emergence of a new breed of leaders. These AI leaders possess the wisdom to manage the collision of digital expansion with deeply ingrained assumptions, biases, and traditions. It’s a whole new ball game with new rules, and AI leaders are at the forefront, guiding us through this transformative journey. As we navigate this uncharted territory, the role of AI leaders becomes increasingly vital, shaping the future of organizations and industries. Embracing this metaphase of AI with wisdom, adaptability, and a forward-thinking mindset will be the key to thriving in this era of unparalleled potential and possibility. The Metaphase of advancing Artificial Intelligence requires the growth of leaders who possess new wisdom to manage the collision of digital expansion with aging assumptions, biases, and traditions.
Written by: Judith Cardenas, Ph.D., RCC, and Bernard Rochon, DMin, RCC.
Iansiti, Marco and Kahhani, Karim; (2020). Competing in the Age of AI, Strategy, and Leadership When Algorithms and Networks Run the World, Harvard Business Review Press, Boston, MA.