While AI has shown potential in various applications, there has been a growing sense of repetition of the same stories about its capabilities. One would imagine that amid the hype around generative AI, companies would be willing to adopt the technology within their works. While that is true, a lot of this hype around generative AI is being driven by investors. Now, CEOs have nothing to do but adopt AI as soon as possible to keep getting the funds.
Recently, Suumit Shah, CEO of Dukaan, announced that he decided to layoff 90% of the company’s support team to replace them with AI. He narrated how integrating generative AI has made his company more productive. While narrating the story of “AI is making workflow easier,” Shah did not mention that perhaps one of the main reasons for the layoff might be cost-cutting; and marketing itself as a generative AI driven startup, a move to attract more ‘AI investors’.
Moreover, even though Shah claimed that the chatbot, Lina, that replaced all the support team was able to speed up the customer interaction process, a lot of people HackerNews criticise how the chatbot is technically poor and thus basically useless for Shah to make to make the claim that it was indeed a good move. “It looks like a rushed and half-baked move by the company to stand in front of the generative AI adoption crowd,” said one of the users.
Announcing the adoption of AI, and demeaning the worth of employees in the same breath, got Shah a lot of backlash. Shah could be criticised for the choice of words while praising the potential of AI, but investors that are indeed the ones pushing CEOs to market themselves as the early adopters of generative AI are to be equally blamed for this.
According to a recent IBM report, 75% of the CEOs believe that adopting generative AI would give them a competitive edge. On the other hand, 66% of the CEOs express that they feel pressured by investors to accelerate AI adoption. It is possible that Shah and his Dukaan must have felt the same heat from investors.
Staying in the sideline is also not an option
Vin Vashishta, founder and AI advisor at V Squared, recently explained how the success of NVIDIA has driven investors to follow the same strategy. “Investors don’t want AI, they want ROI,” said Vashishta. CEOs definitely are bound to fall into the pressure. It is the common denominator for all the stakeholders in the business including the CEOs and the investors.
On the other hand, putting the resources and funds into AI products that the business can’t monetise is just as bad, “maybe even worse, than sitting on the sidelines,” said Vashishta.
Vashishta points out from the IBM report that out of the four CEOs, the one that does not think that generative AI is essential for a successful business in the present might also be falling behind. As corny as Shah’s approach towards trying to be an investors’ favourite by moving first in AI, the person who said that AI is not necessary, is also equally corny.
Too much generative AI
Interestingly, generative AI adoption has been brought in with enthusiasm and anxiety as well. A lot of leading companies’ CXOs told AIM that apart from a top-down push in generative AI adoption, a lot of it is also bottom up, where employees are pushing for generative AI education and adoption within companies.
In this push, companies are also creating and appointing generative AI and AI heads into their companies. A lot of it seems like the idea to hop onto the generative AI bandwagon, but at the same time, it is a push by both the investors and the employees. It does make us wonder how much of it is voluntary adoption, or forceful adoption of the technology, or if there is any useful adoption or not.
Conclusively, companies must carefully consider costing, expertise, data security, and in-house capabilities before adopting generative AI. Practical usefulness and understanding should be established, avoiding impulsive decisions driven by excitement or anxiety.
As the AI hype settles, businesses focus on efficient applications. Generative AI captivates investors and CEOs for optimising workflows. With maturing technology and specialised models, it will revolutionise industries worldwide, thus investor-CEO collaboration is key to harnessing its full potential in the modern workplace. Till then, CEOs will be pushed to say – “we are using generative AI”.
Funnily enough, without accelerating AI adoption, investors might consider replacing CEOs with AI models optimised for maximum ROI. Gradually, these AI CEOs could replace other executives as well, offering the additional advantage of not demanding exorbitant compensation, unlike human CEOs.