Despite rising investments in artificial intelligence (AI) by today’s enterprises, trust in the insights delivered by AI can be a hit or a miss with the C-suite. Are executives just resisting a new, unknown, and still unproven technology, or their hesitancy is rooted in something deeper? Executives have long resisted data analytics for higher-level decision-making, and have always preferred to rely on gut-level decision-making based on field experience to AI-assisted decisions.
AI has been adopted widely for tactical, lower-level decision-making in many industries — credit scoring, upselling recommendations, chatbots, or managing machine performance are examples where it is being successfully deployed. However, its mettle has yet to be proven for higher-level strategic decisions — such as recasting product lines, changing corporate strategies, re-allocating human resources across functions, or establishing relationships with new partners.
Whether it’s AI or high-level analytics, business leaders still are not yet ready to stake their business entirely on machine-made decisions in a profound way. An examination of AI activities among financial and retail organizations by Amit Joshi and Michael Wade of IMD Business School in Switzerland finds that “AI is mainly being used for tactical rather than strategic purposes — in fact, finding a cohesive long-term AI strategic vision is rare.”