A Look Forward: 2024
Welcome to 2024 – and the challenges that come with it. But this isn’t news: with each passing day, tech-fueled change speeds up. In my message last year, I stated the following:
The greatest challenge leaders and strategists face [in the year ahead] is keeping pace with and adapting to continuous, rapid change.
To borrow a bit from Louis Pasteur, fortune favors the prepared mind, which today is best demonstrated by those who embrace uncertainty created by the exponential acceleration in the rate of change. Those most able to adapt will have the ability to respond nimbly and continuously.
In 2023, AI (a topic of study that has existed for decades already) exploded. The convergence of public cloud services, high-performance computing, inexpensive storage, and seemingly limitless information created the conditions for the generative AI tsunami. The fast pace of such change, after years of study, mimics that slow build, followed by a catastrophic crash (that seems out of nowhere) of a true tsunami; and, we see just how true it is that the rate of change in technological innovation is rapidly increasing.
With that said, ‘disruption’ may not be a strong enough descriptor of what we’ve seen unfold. Over the course of months, nothing short of the nature of work and the skill sets deemed valuable have experienced dramatic change.
As we start off 2024, new skill sets and perspectives are taking center stage. Following the adage, “don’t change what isn’t broken,” has outlived its usefulness. Today’s business environment favors curiosity, creativity, experimentation, and a willingness to embrace uncertainty. One trend stands out as so significant that its potential impact transcends the business world and impacts how we think about social and cultural norms.
Note: AI has been a topic of study for decades in academia and research. Given my constant refrain, AI’s seemingly sudden (to many frightening) growth is a manifestation of what continuous and exponentially accelerating change looks like.
Questions are more valuable than information.
The value of information decreases as the supply of and accessibility to information and the technologies used to coalesce information into knowledge increase (think generative AI). The ability to leverage this new and now ambient generative AI capability relies on prompts – questions designed to get the most out of what generative AI has to offer. Good questions, however, are in short supply. Moreover, asking the best questions requires different skills than those used to collect, organize, and store information, transforming it into actionable insights.
Who is turning information into actionable insights now? You are. That is, if you know how to design questions in a manner that fully leverages generative AI technologies. By the way, there is a new role in the business world for such talent: AI Prompt Engineers.
Information, Insights, and Action
The extraordinary advancements in large language models and the creative ways in which they are used has redefined what it means to quip, Transform information into actionable insights. Layer in AI solutions built to generate computer commands, executable code, and machine to machine dialog, and this becomes more accurate: Transform information into action with the right question - no humans required.
In a future piece, we will look at a related trend – one that is climbing the steep slope of exponential acceleration and growth – The role of AI in automating and performing tasks once the sole domain of humans with highly specialized training that span various areas of expertise. If you’d like more on related topics in the meantime, visit our Knowledge Exchange where you can find original and curated content.
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