CIOs Need To Know: Will AI Be A Good Or A Bad Thing For Their Company?

Sure AI is powerful, but can it be too powerful?
Sure AI is powerful, but can it be too powerful?
Image Credit: A Health Blog

As the person with the CIO job, it is our responsibility to stay on top of all of the new technology that is out there because we understand the importance of information technology. Our goal has to be to understand how the new technology works and to determine whether or not it can be useful for our company. One such technology that has shown up on the horizon in the past few years is artificial intelligence (AI). What does this mean for our companies and is it a good thing or a bad thing?

How Facebook Uses AI

CIOs know that they don’t have to be the ones to come up with solutions to all of the problems that they end up facing. Instead, they can look at how other firms have dealt with their own set of challenges. Once you understand this, you can see if the same solutions can be applied to your firm. A great example of a company that is currently investing heavily into AI is Facebook. If we take a look at the challenges that they are dealing with, we can attempt to see if we can relate them to what our companies are dealing with.

Once of the biggest challenges that Facebook is currently dealing with is the problem of fake news. In the 2016 U.S. presidential election, news stories that were made up spread like wildfire across the Facebook universe and may have influenced how people voted in the election. Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckenberg initially dismissed fake news as not being a big deal; however, since then he has changed his tune. Currently Facebook has tasked a number of employees to do nothing but scan news stories and determine if they are real or made up. Clearly this is something that could probably be better handled by AI.

Another challenge that Facebook is trying to deal with is violence that shows up in the live videos that their users stream via Facebook tools. Facebook would like to prevent these types of videos in part because they are currently being used by terrorist organizations as recruiting tools. However, detecting when a video is showing a scene of violence can be a very difficult thing to do. Once again, Facebook has employed people to watch videos all over the world in order to detect when a violent video is being uploaded. This too is a task that could be better performed by AI.

How CIOs Can Use AI

CIOs need to take a look at what Facebook is trying to use AI to do and make some decisions about what they want to do for their firms. We need to understand that no solution is perfect and the AI solutions that Facebook is trying to implement have some downsides associated with them. In the case of the fake news project, Facebook is very concerned that they may end up censoring too much information because it has been incorrectly identified as being fake news.

How to handle video streams that contain violence is even more difficult for AI to do. This problem comes with two distinct challenges. The first is that in order to solve this problem Facebook is going to require a very fast computer vision algorithm. The good news is that the company believes that it can create this. However, the second problem is harder. The company is going to have to come up with a set of practices that it can use to determine what should and should not be removed from video streams.

What CIOs are going to have to deal with is selling the value of adding AI to the company’s systems. We are going to have to help the various people in our company get over their view of AI as being either some sort of magic act or something out of a Terminator movie. Instead, we need to get everyone to realize that AI has finally become real and if we take the time, then we can find ways to use it correctly within our company.

What All Of This Means For You

The person in the CIO position is the person that the rest of the company is going to be looking to when it comes time to make decisions about adding new technologies to the way that the company does business. One of the new technologies that we are going to have to be taking a look at is AI. We need to determine if this is going to help or hinder our company.

The good news here is that Facebook is currently facing the same set of challenges when it comes to evaluating how best to use AI. If we step back and take a look at how they are dealing with this challenge then we get some guidance for how we are going to want to deal with it. Facebook is dealing with the scourge of fake news. Currently Facebook employs people to search for fake news, but AI could do it better and faster. Additionally, Facebook wants to prevent its users from uploading violent videos. In order to prevent this, Facebook currently uses employees who are located all over the world. AI could do this better if Facebook had a fast enough video processing algorithm and a clear set of policies that determined what video was allowed

There is no question about it: AI is coming. CIOs need to take the time to look around and determine what other firms are doing. Facebook provides us with a great example of what challenges AI can be applied to solving. We need to watch Facebook carefully and determine where they end up applying the power of AI.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that it would be better to eliminate too much news in order to get rid of all of the fake news or should we live with too little?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

A CIOs focus is more often than not on the internal workings of the company. We spend our time using the importance of information technology to try to figure out how more things within the company can be automated or how we can keep the bad guys out. However, in this day and age in which we are living, there is a new role that is being thrust upon the person with the CIO job. There are certain customers who are not satisfied with the company’s product and demand changes. This is when a CIO can get involved.

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