“AI is undoubtedly the new fuel of the modern economy”
John Clancy of the Enterprise Digital Advisory Forum says organizations need to embrace AI to be ready for the future.
“AI – Here for Good” is the clever pun for the title of our national strategy on artificial intelligence. It underscores the strategy’s focus on ethical and responsible adoption, while recognizing that AI is irrevocably reshaping our economy and society.
Ireland is well positioned to be an international global leader in using AI to benefit our economy and society. As a country, we have invested heavily in developing IT talent, entrepreneurship and connectivity. We are also home to some of the largest ICT companies in the world.
The key to achieving this is driving the adoption of AI in Irish businesses, helping businesses large and small to embrace and benefit from digital transformation.
AI is undoubtedly the new fuel of the modern economy, which has the potential to disrupt and transform almost every industry and business sector. However, even when the benefits are well recognized and the investments allocated, the path to digital transformation is not always easy. Research shows that 70% of digital transformations fail, fall short of their goals, and often have far-reaching and costly consequences.
As with any other rapidly evolving technology, AI also has serious implications and challenges for its adoption. A collaborative and transparent approach can make all the difference.
Open up to AI
Interestingly, aside from the obvious technical challenges, it is all too often the many social, economic and organizational factors that can impact the successful delivery of an AI solution. But these are often overlooked.
Businesses go through many stages of evolution as they grow. This shapes their culture, structure and technology in complex ways. Sometimes an organization’s culture, or its bureaucratic processes or its legal systems and practices, can be the main cause of friction towards change.
Creating a culture of openness and transparency is essential throughout the digital transformation journey.
Tied to the AI hype is the fear that robots will take over all of our jobs. It would be naive and irresponsible to say that AI will not replace some jobs. But resisting change rather than preparing for what’s to come is potentially disastrous for businesses.
AI is a tool for humans to get better at their jobs, save time, be more productive, and focus on creative tasks rather than being constantly preoccupied with mundane, boring work. We must remember that our human capacity for compassion and empathy will be a valuable asset to the future workforce and that there are some jobs related to care, creativity and education that computers cannot. just not replace.
It is up to organizations to evolve and create their own identity, culture, working style, management and reporting structure in this new world of work.
This aligns with the three core principles reflected in the National AI Strategy which, when adopted, provide a greater likelihood of success on the path to digital transformation. They are:
- Adopt a human-centered approach to the application of AI (while viewing AI as a tool to support human decision-making)
- Stay open and adaptable to new innovations
- Ensure good governance to build the trust and confidence necessary for innovation to flourish
This last point is crucial because, ultimately, for AI to be truly inclusive (without prejudice) and to have a positive impact on all of us, we must be clear about its role in our society and ensure that trust is the ultimate marker of success.
Industry research already shows that those who reach the promised land gain a significant competitive advantage.
Sustaining our economy
The Department of Business Trade and Employment, supported by organizations such as Enterprise Ireland and Endeavor Ireland, is playing a leading role in connecting these digital native and transformed organizations to those yet to embarked on their digital transformation journey, providing opportunities for networking and knowledge sharing.
Additionally, part of our goal in the Enterprise Digital Advisory Forum (EDAF) is to review funding initiatives that allow organizations to kick-start their digital transformation journey and ultimately help them gain a competitive advantage.
Research is also essential to better understand the impact of digitalisation, to understand our progress against our European and international peers and to better understand how to further exploit the opportunities. On the face of it, it looks like Ireland has done a good job of digitalisation compared to the rest of the EU, but we need research to find out exactly how transformative this has been, as each country has its own dynamic.
By embracing digitalization, we are future-proofing our economy for years to come. The digital economy offers huge opportunities for Irish SMEs to improve services, improve customer experience and increase competitiveness.
I look forward to continuing to share our learnings in Galvia with EDAF, so that together we can collaborate and help create a fair, transparent, secure and above all human-centered AI community.
By John Clancy
John Clancy is the founder and CEO of Galvia, an AI platform that derives actionable insights from data from customers such as Nestlé, Medtronic, Atos and NUI Galway, supporting their digital transformation journey. Clancy is also a member of the Enterprise Digital Advisory Forum.
10 things you need to know straight to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the brief dailythe summary of essential science and technology news from Silicon Republic.