By Nick Jankel

Professional Global Keynote Speaker, Transformation & Innovation Catalyst, Leadership Theorist & Practitioner, 6 x Dyslexic Author, 3 x TV Coach, Co-Creator of Bio-Transformation®

This article is part 2 of 6 in the series 5 Must-Know Leadership Trends, Ideas & Ideals

Leaders vs. ChatGPT: AI-Enabled Business Models

We all know that digital transformation, and the 4th Industrial Revolution, mean that smart money has to bet big on digital-first business models. This does not necessarily mean betting big on a single technology or idea, like the metaverse (Meta/Facebook’s Reality Labs division lost a stunning $3.7bn in the last quarter of 2022 alone investing in metaverse innovation).

Predicting the value of a lot of new tech is intrinsically a fool’s game. Just think about 3D TVs, NFTs, or Google’s glasses (although Apple is planning some kind of computer for our faces.)

What digital-first thinking means for transformational leaders is that we recognize that, with the growth of technologies like artificial intelligence and biotechnology, most value in the future will be mediated in some way through digital systems: data, algorithms, machine learning, personalization, electricity, etc., etc., etc.

This is even more true of exponential value-creation, where digital realities allow for the scale of impact decoupled from the scaling of costs and investment. This is the true meaning of The Industrial Revolution 4.0.

One technology that every leader must understand the capabilities and constraints of is AI. AI definitely passed an inflection point in 2022 in terms of its capacity to replicate or mimic some of our most human-like capabilities. AI, particularly Generative AI, has come of age. Or, at least it’s a tween.

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AI-enabled creativity services like midjourney have “created” decent-looking artwork. AI platforms like ChatGPT, created by purpose-led OpenAI (with a mission “to ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity”), have shown they can “analyze” existing human knowledge to make intelligent-seeming analytical recommendations.

For this article, I asked ChatGPT: “What is a transformational leader?”

It replied:

Transformational leadership is a leadership style that involves inspiring and motivating followers to not only achieve their goals, but also strive for personal growth and development. Transformational leaders focus on developing the full potential of their team members and creating a positive, engaging work environment.

Not bad in 3 seconds! Better than I could articulate it in a few seconds, and I’ve spent the best part of 30 years thinking, researching, and practicing it. This is why leaders need to really grok what AI can, and will be able, to do; and fast.

The next version, GPT-4, moves from 175 billion parameters to 100 trillion. Little wonder that Microsoft is looking at how to add ChatGPT into Bing searches and that OpenAI is looking for capital at a $30BN valuation! AI, particularly #generativeai, has come of age. Or, at least it’s a tween.

Although such analytical AI terrifies many, including teachers worried about students generating AI-driven essays in minutes that are hard to spot from homegrown efforts, we should see this capability as liberating and empowering. I have long suggested that AI will be able to do both routine and non-routine (i.e. strategic) tasks better than humans, no matter how smart we think we are.

Just look at some of the responses ChatGPT gives to tough questions, like what to ask a keynote speaker expert on water desalination!

AI can deliver analysis without human foibles like confirmation bias and fatigue. So AI-enabled business models allow us to deliver better analytical underpinnings, freeing us humans in an organizational value chain to do what computers cannot do: care, show compassion (see Trend 4 in this series), create breakthroughs and disruptive innovations, and collaborate.

Emerging AI-enabled services and business models include:

Here are some images of me “imagined” by Lensa (which became the top photo/video app in the Apple Store), created after I uploaded just a handful of selfies:

So whether you are looking at how a chatbot could be used in your online content marketing or how AI-driven art could be used in your innovation pathways, the transformational leader, the adaptive leader, must continue to be restlessly curious about how to make digitalness, and I suggest AI in particular, the core of the business models they are transitioning to.

As one techno-optimistic posted, gushing at the power of the next version of GPT (4), “If you’re not already planning on starting an AI-based SaaS or thinking about how to build AI into your current solution… ? Start now!”

As with all transformational leadership, this means noticing, acknowledging, and processing our fears of change—particularly any sense of loss of status, power, uniqueness, income, etc.—ensuring our minds and bodies become available for metabolizing outside-in change into inside-out value.

With AI, this may mean transcending any human exceptionalism that we might be clinging to—particularly around the human capacity for analytical skills and cognitive complexity—and then exploring what opens up for us as leaders and organizations when we are prepared to let go of outdated assumptions and emotional attachments…

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