I love the analogy of ChatGPT that Hubspot CTO Dharmesh Shah shared at the start of the year:
“Netscape was to the Internet what ChatGPT is to Artificial Intelligence.
“The Internet existed before Netscape. But the browser helped millions of mere mortals connect the dots on what could be done, and dream of what could be.”
As this breakout year for generative AI unfolded, that analogy has largely come true. Unlike some technology breakthroughs that find adoption in organizational siloes or bubble up from the bottom, generative AI has been widely accessible from the start. Across seniority levels, functions, and industries, the mainstream are using gen AI for work and play.
McKinsey recently shared a study that 79% of respondents say they’ve had some exposure to gen AI and 22% are regularly using it in their own work. One-third say their organizations are already regularly using generative AI in at least one function. Three-quarters expect gen AI to cause “significant or disruptive change in the nature of their industry’s competition” in the next three years.
Salesforce reported that 67% of IT leaders are prioritizing generative AI for business in the next 18 months, with one-third naming it a top priority.
And yet, incorporating gen AI into business isn’t just another software implementation. It’s not plug-and-play. There are a lot of implications and risks, some known and many unknown.
Even as organizations rush head-first into gen AI, there still aren’t a lot of guardrails. McKinsey found that just 21% of organizations already using gen AI have any established policies. Only 32% are mitigating for risks of inaccuracy and only 25% for risks of IP infringement.
This early hype and experimentation stage with generative AI will eventually mature.
I like this insight from Eric Vandevelde, the AI practice chair at Gibson Dunn:
“It was foreign for boards 15 years ago to think about privacy and have chief privacy officers at the design level of products and services. The same thing is going to happen with AI.”
Here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years: