What AI means for managers and specialists

Artificial intelligence (AI) has already become an integral part of our lives wherever we are. The customer service of our favorite products is supported by AI, our social media feeds are selected by an AI engine, a large number of texts and images in advertising are AI generated, etc. 

AI has been accompanying us for quite some time now, but generative AI tools and easy access to them – especially ChatGPT – are a more recent feat.

In my view, this easy access to generative AI for each and every one of us – whether as a private individual or as an employee, specialist or manager – raises the following questions in particular:

  1. How can or should specialists and managers use AI in their day-to-day work to create benefits and improve quality? 
  2. What headroom should managers give their employees to enable AI being used to make their work easier? 
  3. Could or should a team member be replaced by AI?
  4. For what purposes should generative AI deliberately not be used in the company? 
  5. How can managers respond to their employees' fears of losing their jobs due to AI?

1) In my view, it is incredible in which roles AI today can be put to good use for us (specialists and managers, consultants, etc.). Here is just an initial list of roles that I have assigned to AI within ChatGPT:

  • Translator: Translating my marketing texts into different languages
  • Copywriter: Generating text suggestions for seminar titles 
  • Designer: Creating suitable images or graphics for my LinkedIn posts
  • Idea Provider: Making suggestions regarding workshop concepts and their contents
  • Coach: AI as a coach to rework certain situations with customers – i.e. a supervision of the past 
  • Role-playing partner: For the preparation of employee interviews or customer meetings

All this and much more is possible with ChatGPT-4, and in a very good quality in my opinion. I created some pictures with Midjourney. Many clever people have now come up with the idea of designing good business models using generative AI, and they are charging quite high prices for their services. I have shied away from this so far, for cost reasons:

  • Create a video clone of myself with labs.heygen.com: It is possible to create videos featuring me as the speaker, using a video of me as the basis, in which I say something and then 'superimpose' a well-prepared text in written form. It looks as if I am able to speak the text flawlessly in any language. It's downright amazing what's possible, but it is too expensive for me.
  • Doing a personal AI coaching session with Retorio.com: This tool can be used to analyze my speech, facial expressions and behavior in certain situations, e.g. also in role-playing contexts, for the purpose of my own development.  

2) The amount of leeway managers intend to give their employees for the use of AI naturally is something that each manager has to evaluate for themselves, what is appropriate for their particular circumstances. Generative AI trained with incredible amounts of data contains so much knowledge that, in my opinion, it would be advisable not to ignore this source in everyday business. But perhaps we need team-specific rules on the use of AI, such as a label indicating that AI has been used. In addition, it is simply a matter of fair treatment if all employees across the organization have equal access to AI (for example via a knowledge transfer, how a tool such as ChatGPT can be best used) to make their work easier. 

3) Replacing a team member completely with AI is of course a bold move from today's perspective, and it would raise a lot of further questions. Sooner or later, it will certainly be the case that certain skills or activities will be largely replaced by AI. Here is what I would suggest: in order not to close your mind to change brought about by AI and to prepare for it, you could create a role that doesn't yet exist in the team and for which there was no budget with AI. How about a Chief Happiness Officer or Health Expert as a new artificial team member?

4) The question as to what AI should deliberately not be used for in the company should be rephrased, in my opinion, to what you should definitely consider when using AI as a manager or when AI is used by team members: 

  • AI can contain biases depending on the training data, and there is a risk of discrimination.
  • Sources are no longer recognizable, which leads to a lack of transparency about the content provided by AI. Disinformation about AI is possible. Therefore, people who use AI still have to use their own brain, even if time pressure is high.
  • And data protection also remains an issue: for role-playing or coaching, you should only work anonymously or use your own AI instance, which is trained with internal company data. In doing so, nothing is uploaded back into the cloud.
  • AI also has an impact on the environment: AI consumes a massive amount of electricity, especially when generating images. AI does not come without a CO2 footprint!
  • The current state of regulation in the EU and in Germany is still inadequate. Laws and regulations do not yet properly address ethical concerns of AI and the fundamental prerequisite that AI must never be allowed to dominate humans.

5) Yes, AI can cause fear of job loss. And this fear is real. There are already professions that are being at least partially replaced by AI, such as translators or copywriters. The only thing that can help is to focus on your own strengths or those of your employees, be open to change, be curious and thus find new niches and roles. For the time being, we cannot yet fully rely on AI: someone has to instruct AI and check its results. 

In a nutshell:
Personally, I am both fascinated and irritated at the same time by the rapid development of AI. I can also see that my skills and my practice in coaching, consulting and workshop facilitation will be at least partially taken over by generative AI. My approach: not to shut my eyes, and try to find my new niche in interaction with AI! 
Of course, I am happy about all coachees, managers and customers who trust my human skills and I am happy to continue to serve this group of people with my human intelligence.

This text first appeared in my newsletter 'Innovation on Wednesday'. It is published every three weeks. For subscription click here

Further reading:

Andrea SchmittInnovationstrainerinAm Mittelpfad 24aD 65520 Bad Camberg+49 64 34-905 997+49 175 5196446
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