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Chatter about ChatGPT: What's the Impact of AI?

from  April 30, 2024 | 4 min read

There is a lot of chatter about Chat GPT and the impact of AI. While it’s the topic of the moment, I, too, am fascinated by what the role of AI in business and other transformational technologies could mean for organizations and how it could help uncover new opportunities for improvement and growth.

Another related topic we have been discussing of late has been organizational resilience, and, in utilizing these technologies, businesses can certainly become more competitive - and resilient - as well as capitalizing on the chance for long-term gains.

One role in any organization that will be pivotal in making this happen is the CFO - long gone are the days of the number-crunching and purely cost-focused CFO. As the world and technology have evolved, so has the role of the CFO, who now needs to consider how efficiencies can be achieved – using tech - and guide other leaders to think in the same way. AI is just one of the tools that can be leveraged to try and achieve these improvements...creating efficiency AND, crucially, effectiveness.

The CFO has the purview to map out the whole value chain of the company, finding the areas where additional output can be generated, where costs can be removed, and, consequently, where more value can be delivered. By identifying the right areas, the CFO can play a critical role in making the company not only more efficient from a cost perspective but also more productive, competitive, and resilient.

And this is not a picture of the ‘future’; this is happening now. Already, there are use cases explaining how AI can help businesses and people become more efficient, and within the next few years, I believe we will see a massive acceleration.

In PwC’s fourth annual AI business survey, published in 2022, it was shown that AI success is becoming the rule, not the exception. Almost 90% of CEOs surveyed in that report agreed that AI was ‘the norm’ within their businesses and that using software and other tools to help support everyday operations was crucial for future success. AI conjures up the image of complexity, of the future, of robots taking over from people, but AI is as ‘simple’ as software helping to drive automation, using data more effectively and insights being driven by advanced analytics, leading to faster decision making.

AI is, therefore, already starting to have a major impact on how we work across a number of industries, with new applications and use cases being identified every single day. We see this disruption being well documented with the impact of ChatGPT, even though it is in its early stages of adoption. Automation and AI are dramatically reducing the time needed to process information and handling huge amounts of data to provide insights. On the flip side of all these benefits, some cite concerns around the impact of AI – for example, on potential job losses - but what about the new roles being generated as a result?

It's clearly a topic not without controversy... even Elon Musk and the creators of ChatGPT recently suggested that a six-month halt should be called on the development of larger, more powerful AI systems. Over 1,000 technology pioneers signed an open letter proposing that more in-depth work should be undertaken to analyze the risks that AI could pose to humanity.

There are also theories that artificial intelligence could slip outside of the control of people and become so ‘clever’ in writing its own code that computers could end up destroying humanity. It sounds like the plot of a sci-fi movie, and maybe there is something in it. For now, I would rather us focus on some of the positives – for instance, a boost to productivity in an uncertain environment, bolstered decision-making ability, improvements in many aspects of how we live our lives, better customer experiences, more insightful use of data, reducing time spent on more manual work – and use AI in business to help us move forward.

It will be interesting to see how the relationship between AI, business, and people evolves and whether the positives outweigh the initial concerns, not only reducing the chatter but which will be crucial for both CEOs and CFOs to seize opportunities in the future.

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Mike Ettling - Chief Executive Officer at Unit4

Mike Ettling

Unit4 Chief Executive Officer

I’m a CEO, Investor, builder of world class teams, champion of diversity and continuous learner, and I’m passionate about people. From my first leadership role in the Boy Scouts, to exec positions in the tech industry, my career has revolved around elevating, engaging and enabling people. I joined Unit4 to get the market as excited in our unique approach to enterprise tech as I am. We’re building systems that change how people experience work, and the impact will be huge.

Outside of work I’m a proud father, Liverpool supporter and South African.