Technological change brings organizational change.
Terrific post. It’s exciting to see people doing more than just generating silly images and fake term papers.
Your first principle suggests that one consequence of rebuilding organizations along these lines is that managers will have less power. Conflicts over remote work and recent successes by labor unions are other signs of a general realignment between managers and workers, especially knowledge workers. What other signs we should watch out for in terms of organizational or economic restructuring?
This is great and very timely for me. I'm about to write an article/essay (for an EdD) looking at the impact of AI on the professions, particularly HE academics. Do you know of any useful methodologies for systematically analysing current processes? I think this would be a useful starting point for considering potential changes.
I'm opening discussions with organizations about how to solve business problems strategically with AI. We apply a framework to reveal the process and then work to remove or optimize steps. With the the SOP It then shows where roles and responsibilities align with KPIs so there is no exclusion or overlap. My gut was telling me that as soon as we started doing this we were changing the organization. My concern is having a strategic framework.
I'm really excited by the discussions around human/machine teaming. There is still so much to experiment with when it comes to mixed teams of humans and agents. When I was working on some projects focused on this at Philosophie (~2018) we found that there was a strong need for cross collab of people and particular focused agents. I've talked about how this might play out in the context of a smart home here:
Also, I wonder what we might learn from some earlier projects in this field like Orchestra from B12:
The idea of building known workflows vs. dynamic goals will be interesting (and will depend on how "meta" the goals are).
Another Great post Ethan thank you.
This ‘sneaking’ AI into our workflow at reminds me of years ago some of us had calculators we hide in our desks. Others had something called a PC running DOS at home so they would do the hard stuff at night or weekends and bring back results. Businesses were SO SLOW to adopt the idea of giving a PC to employees. Only ‘select’ employees were allowed one ...
Managers were afraid PCs would be a negative impact at work due to people wasting time on them.
So here we are again with AI. I welcome it.
Wow, what brilliant Foresight into the World of Work! If we don't act now-now, it feels, it's going to be too late! And if over 50% "claim" to use Ai at work, imagine, what the actual behavior would be in reality :).
With GPTs incorporating custom data of all kinds easily, and thus effectively adding the ability to form memories which LLMs have lacked up to now, and with new models a year or two or less away that will be multi sensory in ways that will extend a lot of what AIs can do, we are I think overcoming some of the big initial hurdles that have kept ChatGPT as a bit of a parlor trick for most uses and businesses, and entering a period where there will be very serious societal changes resulting from large productivity gains (I think centered around job losses). One thing that occurred to me is that smart introverted people, who have had a good few decades, will find things much more rough going in the medium-term onward. It’s the extroverts (and physical trades) that I think will emerge less impacted.
Your article brilliantly captures the essence of organizational transformation in the AI era, drawing a fascinating parallel between past and present. It's intriguing to see how AI is not just a tool but a team member, reshaping workflows and decision-making.
However, I wonder if we risk oversimplifying AI's role by not acknowledging the potential pitfalls, such as ethical dilemmas and over-reliance on technology. Could this lead to a new kind of 'AI-driven bureaucracy' where human creativity is stifled?
It's a controversial thought, but perhaps the future of AI in organizations isn't just about efficiency, but also about balancing innovation with humanity. Keep the posts coming!
Also, have a cool AI tool that we’ve built that automates newsletters w/ a direct integration to Substack (so you can directly copy/paste) - would love your feedback on it (free to trial) - https://neuralnewsletters.com/
I’m glad that you are working on this, however we are taking a slightly different approach. We have a program that can be tailored to any group, any age, any educational background. We designed it for elementary school students. So we know any one can learn it. It’s called Accelerator HAI. We teach both Human intelligence and Artificial intelligence at the same time. This gives individuals and companies to foundation to really use their full potential.
So helpful. AI as teammate. Too early too late. Thanks.
Long time reader. Was fun to see the tool I built (Screenshot to code) featured in this post :)
I love the comment about treating AI as a team member rather than external IT app. Great perspective to adopt.
As a UX designer and researcher I'm a bit bemused about the statement "Well, one thing that AI is quite good at doing is providing feedback".
Yes, it can synthesise patterns of previous feedback, however, if "nobody has built the kinds of complex educational games we are developing" where have you sourced your dataset?
As in any creative build you can certainly start with the simulcra of a design framework, but that leap would probably benefit more from just doing the primary research. ;-)
Great post. I am done with LLMs. It's time for personal LMs, different approach for memory, truth, grounded, cost-effective, for all people, controlled, and owned.
Excellent post... wow. Thank you. As the best posts do -- it got me thinking...
And I caught myself thinking of the Coase Theorem, Theory of the Firm and transaction costs, and that LLM's collapse the transaction costs of working with language... and this is powerful because language is action in many contexts: program code, legal filings, a signature. So collapsing the cost of working with language lowers the cost of a whole class of actions. And in doing so, if firms are organized around high transaction cost transactions, then per Coase it should re-arrange the lines between firms.
Coase and transaction costs are an old model... so I hadn't connected it up. But if feels like part of what has been worrying me isn't just that we will all need to redesign our processes -- but that the economic value add for the "human in the loop" will change in ways that will require re-architecting the value proposition for business at the same time we are re-designing processes.
The processes I can kind of wrap my head around a little bit... bit the transaction cost effect feels like what's got us all anxious and I would appreciate anyone's thoughts on applying Coase and the Theory of the Firm to what's coming from AI?