Chapter 13AI: The Elephant in the Room

Mike Barlow1

Whether you are a C-suite executive, line of business (LOB) manager, or a learning and development (L&D) strategist in the human resources department, you are probably dealing with questions and concerns about the looming impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on the workplace.

For senior executives, AI will raise difficult questions about:

  • Remaining relevant in rapidly evolving markets.
  • Competing effectively against faster-moving opponents.
  • Existential risks and long-term business strategies.

For LOB managers, AI will raise concerns about:

  • Keeping pace with new technologies.
  • Reskilling and upskilling employees.
  • Adapting to change, both internally and externally.

For L&D leaders, concerns will include:

  • Meeting the needs of business units.
  • Developing skills and talent within the organization.
  • Evaluating quality and content of learning tools and solutions.

If you are uncertain and unsure about AI, don't worry—you're in good company. Some of the world's most experienced data scientists say it's difficult to separate truth from fantasy in conversations about AI.

“There's always been a lot of hype surrounding AI. One of the early definitions was ‘AI is all the stuff that doesn't work yet,’ and there's a fair bit of truth in that,” says Ted Dunning, a seminal figure in the data science community and early pioneer of big data applications.

AI covers a broad swath of territory from machine learning (ML) to neural networks to ...

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