Tech expert: Businesses need to prepare for AI

Posted on Oct 19, 2018 :: Insight on Business, Web Exclusive.
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Companies need to be prepared for the coming waves of disruption due to the quickly changing IT sector or else they will see their business flounder, says Oliver Buechse.

Buechse, the CEO of My Strategy Source and co-founder of Advancing AI Wisconsin, spoke Friday as part of the St. Norbert College CEO Breakfast & Strategy Series at Butte des Morts Country Club in Appleton. He shared that a survey put together by global management consulting firm Bain found that by the end of the 2020s, artificial intelligence may eliminate 20 to 25 percent of all jobs.

“The age of AI has arrived and it’s something businesses need to be prepared for,” Buechse said. “The good news is that there will be productivity gains and it will help businesses who want to grow, but just don’t have the workforce. The downside, of course, is that 2.5 million jobs could be lost due to digital transformation.”

Companies in other parts of the country are already embracing AI, and if Wisconsin does not keep up, it risks becoming part of the “digital rust belt,” Buechse says.

He admitted there are a lot of issues business leaders need to address when it comes to AI and other advanced technology, but suggested they use the POP approach: Posture-Opportunity-Preparation.

“You have to decide how your company will react — will you jump in and be a maverick or wait until everything flows downstream? Then, you need to look at what opportunities AI will bring to your business,” Buechse said. “And finally, how will you prepare? How will you educate yourself and other members of your leadership team about the new technologies? How will you educate your workforce or your customers?”

Buechse said people tend to underestimate what AI and technology in general can do. He shared that the CEO of Yum Brands, which includes Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, predicts robots will take over all fast food jobs within 10 years.

“I know that sounds crazy, but it can happen. These robots will be able to recognize you through facial recognition — even if you are at a different location — and be able to have a conversation,” Buechse said. “They may ask if you want to order what you did last time since they would have access to that information as well.”

He added that Hyundai already has an augmented reality owner’s manual. “Technology will create a new definition of customer service,” Buechse said.

The next St. Norbert CEO Breakfast will be held Nov. 14 at Butte des Morts. Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna and Karen Nelson, diversity and inclusion coordinator for the City of Appleton, will discuss “Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Your Strategic Planning Process.” For more information, visit www.snc.edu/ceobreakfast/.