Companies, like AI, hallucinate about their capabilities and forecasts

Hallucination is one of the hottest new business words in the AI lexicon. But what’s so new? Companies have hallucinated since the beginning of time about their capabilities and forecasts.

Since the beginning of this year, Artificial Intelligence, now ubiquitously referred to as “AI,” has been the subject of innumerable business reports in the media, in board room discussions in companies of every size and shape, and among employees from the highest level to the rank and file. There has been a proliferation of reports of so-called hallucinations, whereby AI sometimes, for inexplicable reasons, makes things up. Examples of these misrepresentations, and flat-out fabrications, have caused alarm bells to go off at all levels of society, now reaching the U.S. Congress, the White House and other governing bodies worldwide. Without being judgmental, I think numerous readers would agree that politicians are well-versed in crafting a story that might differ radically from reality. However, I will leave the exploration of comparisons between government officials’ and AI’s fictitious utterances to Sunday morning talk shows and the editorial pages of our free press.

Businesses have dealt with their own form of hallucinations about every aspect of their organizations, including customer service, product quality, financial forecasts and just about everything else. Good businesses know how to deal with incorrect statements and comments, and quickly right wrongs. Undisciplined organizations perpetuate their hallucinations until they get caught.

No matter what a company’s view is on AI, like it or not, it’s here. And not only is it here to stay but it will grow exponentially, perhaps eventually far eclipsing the upward trajectory of any innovation that came before it. As a result, there’s much speculation that tens of millions of jobs will be eliminated by AI, and other prognostications that an equally substantial number of new positions will be created, many of which have yet to be envisioned.

If your company is not already thinking about the implications of AI, you’re falling behind the competition. It’s mandatory for businesses to begin educating their teams and introducing the benefits and changes that will be brought about by machine thinking and machine doing. Many fundamental tasks done by humans will be automated or reimagined. This is not a terrible thing, as some pundits fear, but instead is progress that will unleash new opportunities at every level of society. AI will do jobs done by humans thousands and thousands of times faster. AI also never sleeps, doesn’t take breaks and doesn’t require a cafeteria at noon every day.

Preparing your company for AI begins with educating every employee about the positives of eliminating tedious and nonproductive functions that no one enjoys doing anyway. As a part of orienting the workforce to AI, consider framing it as a collaborative function where machines work side-by-side with your heart-beating staff members to make them more productive and to enhance the work experience, not to mentation at a fraction of the cost. This next chapter in business and our everyday life will be integrated into most aspects of what everyone does and will dramatically hasten translating innovative ideas into a working reality faster than any science fiction writer ever fathomed.

In terms of hallucinations, be they proliferated by machines or people, society must deal with fabrications as we have been doing since the beginning of time. Some things never change. ●

Visit Michael Feuer’s website to learn more about his columns, watch videos and purchase his books, “The Benevolent Dictator” and “Tips From The Top.”

Michael Feuer

Founder and CEO