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Being a guest on the panel for the

Consultancy Business Podcast.

How #AI is Shaping the Modern Workplace:

It was a blast and an honor to be invited onto the Consultancy Business Podcast with the legendary Phil Lewis! In my role as a Future of Work Speaker, Keynote Speaker, and AI Expert, chatting about the future of work, technology, and AI with Phil is always a treat.

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Phil’s wisdom is the stuff of legends, and his questions? As thoughtful as a philosopher at a tea party. With two wildly successful practices, numerous industry awards, and a jaw-dropping 92% client retention rate, Phil Lewis is the epitome of ethical excellence in consultancy. So naturally, I love our conversations—especially when we dive into creativity, consultancy, and the future of work.

🚀 AI vs. 100,000 Humans: Creativity Showdown!

Knowing how much we love data it was interesting to recently stumble upon a fascinating study that pitted AI against 100,000 humans in a creativity face-off using the Divergent Association Test.

Spoiler alert: GPT-4 clinched the title!

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Yes, folks, AI is officially more creative than many humans.

This is a landmark moment for AI, with the study concluding that:

“Better prompting can further improve performance & diversity of ideas.”

So, the real MVP here is AI prompting. Which is good as I made an online course all about how to use AI better with prompting. But the bigger thing is how MUCH is AI used at all.

It’s a question I pose often in my keynote talks on AI and the future of work: How many of you are using ChatGPT or other AI tools? The numbers might surprise you. Ethan Mollick points out:

“I would not have expected that 7% of Americans are already using ChatGPT daily, and almost 1 in 5 Americans use an LLM at least weekly.”

In my European keynotes, it’s also shocking how many people have dabbled with AI but only once a week—and usually just one version of it. This is why AI training is going to be crucial, especially for consultants.

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🎧 The Podcast: Consultants vs. AI — Friend or Foe?

Phil and I had a riveting panel discussion on the unstoppable rise of AI in every sector. The panel featured:

  • Liz Timoney: Trainer of over a thousand corporate leaders, coach, speaker, and author of Unstuck: Change Your Life Story.
  • Simon Moore: CEO of IB, Doctor of Psychophysiological Psychology, and Chartered Psychologist with the BPS.
  • And yours truly, Dan Sodergren: Future of Work Expert for hire, Keynote Speaker, and AI Thought Leader.

We covered a ton of ground, so grab your headphones and have a listen to the full podcast here.

Topics we tackled included:

AI — the Consultant’s Friend or Foe?

AI is reshaping the work environment in massive ways, from handling routine tasks to revolutionizing business models. But who’s really in control of this potent technology? While AI offers countless possibilities, it also brings challenges that require careful navigation. As consultants, we’re making decisions that will influence the future of work.

We delved into workplace psychology, the pressures AI introduces, and how individuals and organizations can adapt to these changes. It’s a balancing act of power, opportunity, and the human element in the age of AI. As my co-panelists proved, this isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation.

Trust in AI-Enhanced Teams

Integrating AI into team dynamics presents both opportunities and challenges. Trust remains vital for effective teams, but can AI systems earn the same level of trust as human colleagues? Human interactions are based on character and competence, traits that AI struggles to convey fully. AI can demonstrate competence, but its lack of emotional intelligence can hinder trust development.

Cultural perceptions also play a significant role. Western cultures, often characterized by individualism, might struggle to accept AI as part of the workforce. In contrast, Eastern cultures, which prioritize community, might adopt AI more seamlessly. This cultural lens shapes how we understand and trust AI, influencing overall team dynamics and effectiveness.

AI’s Impact on Team Performance and Ethical Concerns

As AI systems advance, they could take on lower-paid or routine tasks, leaving more complex problems to human consultants. This raises ethical questions. If AI handles mundane tasks, will there be a division between elite consultants and those performing basic functions? How will this divide affect team morale and performance?

AI’s inherent biases, inherited from their human developers, add another layer of complexity. While humans can consciously correct their biases over time, AI systems might perpetuate these biases if not properly managed. Despite these concerns, AI has the potential to enhance team performance significantly, provided there is a focus on ethical implementation and continuous learning.

Global Perspectives on AI: West vs. East

AI is perceived differently across the globe. In the West, discussions about AI often come with a sense of fear, largely driven by cultural references like “Terminator” and other sci-fi films. Meanwhile, in countries like Japan and China, AI is seen as a positive force. Japan views AI characters as helpers, not threats—a stark contrast to Western narratives.

This difference stems from deep-rooted cultural values. In the West, individualism is highly prized, making the idea of AI stealing jobs or invading privacy particularly unsettling. In contrast, Eastern cultures, which emphasize community, see AI as a way to enhance the collective good. This fundamental difference shapes how societies approach AI: Westerners focus on risks, while Eastern cultures see opportunities for communal benefits.

Perhaps this is why countries like Singapore are now investing heavily in AI training for their people, offering subsidies and even paying for those over 40 to learn about AI.

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Cognitive Biases and Trust

Another critical issue is cognitive bias within AI systems. In the West, there’s a strong focus on the biases that AI might inherit from its human creators. The argument is that since humans are inherently biased, the AI they develop will be biased too. However, we rely heavily on biased human decisions in our daily lives. So why are we so wary of AI biases?

One reason could be control. Who governs the AI? In capitalist societies, there’s a fear that large corporations will wield excessive power through AI, potentially exacerbating issues like inequality. Thus, robust regulatory mechanisms are crucial to ensure AI serves the greater good.

This isn’t just limited to companies; it extends to individuals too. This new realm of opportunities enables each of us to leverage technology for personal growth and greater productivity. We should approach AI with cautious optimism, harnessing its benefits while ensuring robust regulations protect societal interests.

Final Thoughts from Me and My AI

AI holds immense potential to positively reshape our world, making us more productive and creating new opportunities for everyone. However, this will require careful regulation and a shift in how we view and control this technology.

While there are legitimate concerns, the promise of AI democratizing access to powerful tools is promising and unprecedented. By balancing optimism with caution, we can steer AI developments towards a future that benefits us all.

Like reading this blog?

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References for the piece