HBR 10 Must Reads on AI: A Book Review by Bob Morris

HBR 10 Must Reads on AI
Various Contributors
Harvard Business Review Press (September 2023)

AI won’t replace you but someone who understands AI can…and probably will.

This volume is among the best sources for timeless wisdom and cutting-edge thinking on how to increase your understanding of AI and its future direction, bring your AI initiatives to scale, and use AI to transform your organization with minimal disruption. Here specifically is what you need to accelerate your personal growth and professional development.

If you were to purchase the 12 articles in this volume as separate reprints, the total cost would be about $145. Amazon now sells a paperbound edition for $2o. That’s not a bargain; that’s a steal.

Experts on each subject explain HOW TO

o Compete in the Age of AI (Marco Iansiti and Karim R. Lakhani)
o Win with machine learning (Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans, and Avi Goldfarb)
o Develop a digital mindset (Tsedal Neeley and Paul Leonardi)
o Learn to work productively with intelligent machines (Matt Beane)]
o Get AI to scale (Tim Fountaine, Brian McCarthy, and Tamim Saleh)
o Get more from your marketing AI (Eva Ascarza, Michael Ross, and Bruce G.S.Hardie)

o Avoid the pitfalls of pricing algorithms (Marco Bertini and Oded Koenigsberg)
o Formulate a smarter strategy for using robots (Ben Armstrong and Julie Shah)
o Create an effective AI ethics committee (Reid Blackman)
o Understand how and why robots need humans more than humans need them (H. James Wilson and Paul R. Daugherty)
o Eliminate tinkering with AI
o Take full advantage of ChatGPT as a tipping point (Ethan Mollick)

In or near the central business district in most major cities, there is a farmer’s market at which some of the merchants offer — at least until COVID — slices of fresh fruit as samples of their wares. In that same spirit I now provide brief excerpts from three articles:

“In an AI-driven world, once an offering’s fit with a market is ensured, user numbers, engagement, and revenues can skyrocket. Yet it’s increasingly obvious that unconstrained growth is dangerous. The potential for businesses that mbrace digital operating models is huge, but the capacity to inflict widespread harm needs to be explicitly considered Navigating these opportunoties and threats will be a real test of leadership for both businesses and public  institutions.” (Marco Iansiti and Karim R. Lakhani, Page 13).

“Once AI development  matures within an initial domain and organizations have gotten into a rhythm for reimagining parts of the business, they’re ready to expand. The tech foundations they’ve built and the skills they’ve learned — for example, how to successfully break down silos, make decisions that used to take weeks in hours, and create more data-driven teams — will help accelerate their efforts in new domains.” (Tim Fountaine, Brian McCarthy, and Tamim Saleh, Page 61)

“Inflexible business processes can be as limiting as inflexible IT architectures are. The companies described in this article took pains to integrate AI in the daily workflows of employees and customers. To do this at your organization, determine which of your workflows are ripe for AI speed and intelligence and begin integrating AI into them as as soon as possible. Avoid trying to cram it into workflows that wouldn’t benefit from machine speed and scale, such as seldom-used business processes that neither involve nor generate enormous amounts of data and repetition.” (Thomas H. Davenport and Nitin Mittal, Page 137)

If you need to learn the essentials of strengthening your understanding of AI, this book is a must read.

* * *

Here are two suggestions while you are reading HBR 10 Must Reads on AI: First, highlight key passages Also,  perhaps in a lined notebook kept near-at- hand, record your comments, questions, action steps (preferably with deadlines), page references, and lessons you have learned as well as your responses to key points posed within the narrative. Also record your responses to specific or major issues or questions addressed, especially at the conclusion of chapters.

These two simple tactics — highlighting and documenting — will facilitate, indeed expedite frequent reviews of key material later.


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