Executives learn to manage AI for the benefit of their business

EIT Digital Professional School

When it comes to activities like product development, marketing, hiring - and even firing - artificial intelligence (AI) is being promoted as a sort of magic potion that can improve almost everything we do. The way AI is often described certainly sounds magical: There's no need to think when machines do it for you!

Of course it doesn't really work like that. While AI can be a remarkable tool, taking advantage of AI requires an understanding of how a system essentially learns through pattern recognition and how it can deploy the "knowledge" that it builds.

"Once we begin to fully realise the possibilities of AI, the technology promises to disrupt the world with the same broad impact that the internet has had", according to Henrik Blomgren, Assoc. Prof. Business Dev. & Entrepreneurship at KTH Executive School and one of three instructors delivering the course, "Business Strategy and Artificial Intelligence". The short course provided by EIT Digital is designed to give executives and managers a practical understanding of how to use AI. Learners who complete the course appreciate what AI can and cannot do, and they know how to put it to work in their own business operations.

"So far, we have started off utilising it as a productivity tool, gradually finding it to be a tool that we can utilise to develop a business. And then, yes, it's fairly likely that it will shake up the whole industrial landscape in a couple of years", says Prof. Blomgren. "Managing the shakeup, and coming out a winner, requires an understanding of the technology."

Pattern recognition

AI works by recognising and cataloging patterns, at the speed of a computer, to learn very quickly. Through pattern recognition, AI can build a knowledge base and "learn" in a way that is similar to how humans learn.

This enables AI to do a lot of the work that people do now, Prof. Blomgren notes. He says AI can be put to work in a wide range of fields and can handle even relatively sophisticated work. For example, Prof. Blomgren explains, AI could handle much of the work done by lawyers. "A common comment about lawyers is that they're mainly working with pattern recognition and following rules. They interpret the law and then they see a pattern of whether a person should be guilty or not", Prof. Blomgren says. "And that is most likely the reason why we can see there are law firms, particularly in the US, that have already started to use AI tools for the simple stuff."

Even the managers who are targeted as learners in the course could hand off some of their responsibilities to AI, according to Prof. Blomgren.

"Seriously: What does a manager do? Goes to meetings and makes decisions. Making decisions based on what? Pattern recognition. Seeing it that way, it's not unreasonable to say that quite a lot of leadership jobs can actually be substituted, if we look ahead in the future, with an AI tool", Prof. Blomgren says. "So we can see AI completely disrupting everything."

What AI should do for you

The EIT Digital "Business Strategy and Artificial Intelligence" course helps managers understand this potential disruption and put it to work for their own benefit.

"Executives and managers need to know what AI can do for them, what it cannot do, and what it should be doing for them", says Asja Kamenica, Head of EIT Digital Professional School. "This course will show participants AI's strengths, and the costs and limitations of deploying AI, so they can make intelligent decisions about when and how to use it".

The three-day course, developed in partnership with Sweden's KTH Executive School, helps to bridge the gap between the managers who know their business and the technical experts who can deploy AI. As a result managers increase their understanding of the tech side, enabling them to collaborate better with AI programmers and engineers, to put AI to work.

The course covers a range of topics and methods that are essential to employing AI in a competitive manner. The training involves group activities, hands-on exercises and workshops where participants use their new skills and knowledge towards solving real-world problems.

"The opportunity given to deploy their own solutions is particularly engaging and enlightening", says Asja Kamenica. "Once they know how AI works, the managers are able to do some pattern recognition of their own - identifying new and different situations where AI can help them."

Find out more about the course and register for the upcoming session HERE.

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Co-Funded by the European Union