How businesses can benefit from generative AI

Inside the business leader’s mind: What they really want from GenAI

Ascendion May 9, 2024


Muthu Chandra_Profile Photo_cropped
Muthu Chandra
Director, Engineering

Generative AI (GenAI) has captured the imagination of businesses across industries. But beyond the hype, what are business leaders really thinking? In my role as head of AI engineering for Ascendion, I talk to business leaders daily. From CIOs to engineering managers at banks, retailers, gaming studios and more, here’s what I’ve been hearing about GenAI. It’s a glimpse into what’s on the mind of business leaders and tech departments—what keeps them up at night and what’s exciting them.


1. What problems can GenAI solve for my business?

The burning question for business leaders is application. Business leaders want to understand how GenAI’s text and code generation capabilities can boost their team’s productivity. They’re eager to explore artificial intelligence-driven use cases that drive efficiency, spark creativity, or even lead to entirely new services and products.

However, in sectors like finance and healthcare, where trust and regulations are paramount, business leaders also seek ways to interpret AI models. Understanding AI’s decision-making process is crucial for building trust and ensuring compliance.

Finally, integrating and optimizing retrieval augmented generation (RAG) seamlessly into existing systems, for accuracy and performance improvements, is a top priority. This includes robust technical support to deploy AI models at scale and ensure they work harmoniously with legacy systems.


2. What keeps business leaders up at night?

While excited about the possibilities, business leaders also have concerns. One major worry is bias. How can we ensure GenAI systems don’t perpetuate existing biases, leading to unfair outcomes and reputational damage?

Data security is a big concern. Business leaders are highly focused on protecting sensitive data used in AI systems and complying with stringent data protection laws. Similarly, keeping pace with evolving AI regulations and ensuring legal compliance is a source of anxiety.

The “black box” nature of AI decision-making is another concern, especially in industries requiring high levels of trust and accountability. Finally, business leaders worry about security vulnerabilities in AI systems that could compromise outputs through adversarial attacks or other threats.


3. The dream: What do business leaders want to achieve with GenAI?

Business leaders have a clear vision for how GenAI can revolutionize their businesses. They dream of:

  • Automation: Repetitive tasks and processes can be handled by GenAI, freeing up human capital for more strategic work
  • Innovation: GenAI can be a catalyst for developing groundbreaking products and services, giving them a competitive edge
  • Data-driven decisions: AI can analyze vast amounts of data, enabling better-informed decisions, spotting trends, and even predicting future outcomes
  • Personalized experiences: From targeted marketing messages to customized product recommendations, GenAI can personalize customer experiences, boosting satisfaction and loyalty
  • Reduced costs: Streamlining operations and optimizing resource allocation through AI deployment leads to significant cost savings


4. Recent conversations: A shift towards practicality and ethics

The dialogue around GenAI has shifted in the last few weeks. There’s a clear move towards practical applications. Businesses are actively integrating AI into core operations, focusing on tangible benefits for everyday tasks.

Ethical considerations are at the forefront. Business leaders recognize the need for responsible AI development and deployment. Many discussions focus on establishing ethical frameworks and guidelines for AI.

Finally, navigating the ever-evolving regulatory landscape is a key concern. Business leaders seek guidance on complying with these regulations.


5. From pilots to scale: Are we there yet?

The good news is, yes! We’re seeing a rise in financial commitment to AI initiatives. Positive results from pilot projects are giving businesses confidence in the return on investment (ROI) and the potential for growth and innovation. They’re now looking to scale AI across different departments and functions.

However, with this scaling comes the need for robust governance frameworks. These frameworks ensure ethical standards are upheld, risks are managed, and compliance with regulations is maintained.

In conclusion, business leaders are both excited and cautious when it comes to GenAI. By addressing their concerns and focusing on practical applications with strong ethical principles, we can unlock the true potential of GenAI and revolutionize the way businesses operate.

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