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2024 Emerging: AI Outlook: Jarad Johnson

Founder/CEO, Mostly Serious LLC

Posted online

Johnson’s 2024 Projection: Businesses should expect that 2024 is going to be equally as foundation-shifting as 2023 was and make sure they are thinking about how artificial intelligence will be built into their business. It just takes around a year to fall very far behind.

How did you become interested in technology and specifically artificial intelligence?
I grew up on a farm and built my first computer when I was 13 or 14 years old. I’d haul hay during the summer and use that money to build out a computer. I was always really jealous of the people who got to go through the personal computer revolution and the earliest days of the internet. When AI began to take off in 2019-20, there were these rumors of the breakthroughs that we’re seeing today, and I felt like we were going to have that opportunity again. This one might be quite a bit larger than the other revolutions we’ve lived through.

How can businesses dip a toe into AI waters?
If you embrace the technology now, even by allowing your employees to use ChatGPT, the employees can show you how AI can impact your business. This is different than other integrations of digital transformations, where you make decisions at the executive level, and they filter down through the organization. If you give employees access to these tools, they can show industry how to best leverage this tech. We either ride the wave of AI or we risk being crushed by it. I’ve had employees say this technology is scary and new and feels like it’s going to replace their jobs. I believe what will happen before AI replaces jobs is someone who knows how to use AI really well is going to replace your job.

What do you perceive as the strengths and weaknesses of AI in its current form?
AI’s not good at writing quality content – that’s the weakest point I’ve found. Whenever I try to have it write something for me, it’s just awful. To me, it’s an accelerant of the things we’re already good at. I use it for bouncing ideas off of – making sure there are no blind spots in my own thinking, making sure I’m covering all the bases. It’s more of a partner and a collaborator. Also, a big advantage of AI technology is it can replace the mundane work that nobody really wants to do and allow the person to focus on areas where they’re most expert. Harvard Business School did a study where they found consultants that use ChatGPT Pro, without any training, were 25.1% more efficient on tasks with a 40% increase on quality. Microsoft just released a paper – it was not peer reviewed, so take it with a grain of salt – that found up to a 70% increase in efficiency when using their AI tools, which is massive. Any business owner, if you go to them and say, “Hey, you can increase your efficiency by 70% for $20 a month,” will think that’s an incredibly good deal.

Do you have any tips for getting the most out of large language models like ChatGPT?
You can just kind of let employees loose. We encourage organizations to provide some level of training or onboarding and guardrails for how to use it – no client data, for instance. If we’re not going to address AI as an organization, it’s important to know that employees are using it anyway. We’ve trained hundreds of people on AI tools, and we’ve asked the executive team how they’re using AI, and usually they say they’re not using it at all. We ask employees, and often the majority say they’re using it.

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