Why AI will NOT steal your job, the end of the unintelligent client, how to be your own consultant and why AI-powered search is the 'Google killer'

Written by Fola Yahaya

Thought of the week: Does GenAI herald the end of bullsh*t jobs?

Digital Illustration of bored job workers
100% human illustration by Maria Janum

Let’s be frank, the modern economy has evolved to the point where most service-based jobs add little value to society. No matter how we spin it, most of us are fully replaceable by unthinking, unfeeling machines that are more efficient than we can ever be. These kinds of jobs can, and ultimately should, be replaced by AI. But what do we do if our work is no longer necessary/done by robots?

Esther Dyson writes a lovely piece about this in The Information that chimes with my instincts about where this is all headed. She argues that we shouldn’t worry about AI ‘stealing’ jobs or evading our control, but rather focus on using AI to automate ‘sub-human’ routine tasks, using the money and time saved to do more meaningful work. “That work starts with training other humans: kids learning from well-paid, engaged caregivers; patients talking with real doctors and nurses, not just bots and machines; students learning not just to remember facts but to ask provocative questions; teenagers interacting with human mentors instead of influencers ‘trained’ by algorithms.”

She makes a compelling argument that we should focus less on teaching our kids STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths), coding or how AI works, and more about how people work – and how businesses so often make money by manipulating people to buy things they might not need. Fundamentally, we need to work on becoming better humans rather than worrying about AI making us less human.

The end of the unintelligent customer

MAn sawing off tree branch that he is sitting on

As a management consultant working for the UK government, there was often an ‘intelligent customer’ clause designed to ensure that buyers should understand what they were buying. In reality, consultants thrive on their clients’ ignorance and wouldn’t exist if clients knew what they needed and were buying.

But with ChatGPT, customers no longer have an excuse to remain in the dark. Clients can now find out what the service (or good) being bought should look like and how it should be delivered. For example, if your firm is considering hiring a management consultant to create an AI strategy, you can simply ask ChatGPT to “imagine you are a McKinsey consultant tasked with creating an AI strategy for [insert sector and more details]”. This means everyone needs to up their game, which is my key thought of the week. Gone are the days of winging it by trawling the web and cookie-cutting. GenAI creates ‘intelligent’ clients and we, as service providers, need to be more than just one step ahead of our clients.

ChatGPT tip of the week: Be your own management consultant

Management consultant framework

One of the first things they teach you as a management consultant is how to structure whatever you’re peddling, communicating within a compelling framework. McKinsey uses something called the ‘Pyramid Principle’; others use SCQA (situation, complication, question and answer). Both focus on leading with the conclusion, then providing key arguments and finally supporting them with detailed information.

Structured frameworks are like manna from heaven for ChatGPT. So, the next time you need to communicate something, ask ChatGPT to “structure the response like a [insert name of framework]”. You can find some of the most useful ‘thinking’ frameworks here.

Why you should be using AI-powered search

a screen shot of perplexity dashboard

A new study from Leipzig University backs up what we all know: Google is becoming unusable as a search engine because of search engine-optimised, increasingly AI-generated poo. I now do most of my research via an AI-powered search engine. These tools give you the power of natural language questions with search results that are relevant to your question, rather than trying to sell you something you don’t need. This is the main reason why Google is panicking and has lost its way. There are many AI search engines to choose from. Both Bing and Google offer a flavour of this, but if you want ad-free, try something like Perplexity.

Top 3 takeaways from the AI Breakfast Briefing at UBS

Image of the UBS event with Azeem Azhar speaking

I attended an AI breakfast meeting hosted by the global financial services firm UBS on Thursday. The keynote speaker was my old friend Azeem Azhar. Azeem, a very smart cookie who used to be Head of Innovation at Reuters, recently wrote a bestselling book and hosts an AI show on Bloomberg TV. He gave us his unique insight from co-chairing the AI panel at Davos, the WEF shindig where the Illuminati meet once a year to carve up the global economy ;-). My top 3 takeaways were:

  • Most major corporations have AI projects on the go.
  • The AI hype is giving way to a focus on practical corporate applications and use cases.
  • The doomsayers and existential riskers are less prominent, with most of the movers and shakers becoming more positive about their AI projects/prospects.

How to AI-proof your job (for now)

Another of my takeaways from Azeem’s talk was the pincer movement that’s going on inside firms. Clever employees are not waiting for the OK from slow-moving management, but are using GenAI on a daily basis. For me, these are the smartest people in the room; those who embrace AI before it overwhelms them. By embrace, I mean:

  1. Learn. Understand what AI is and isn’t. Learn some of the jargon so that you can talk intelligently about things like LLMs, prompt engineering, fine tuning and machine learning.
  2. Play with as much AI as you can get your hands on. Stop being cheap and upgrade to ChatGPT plus. If you’re a creative, try creating images with Midjourney or its open-source alter ego, Stable Diffusion. For search, ditch Google and use something like Perplexity.
  3. Volunteer to be an AI champion. Suggest and, ideally, lead pilot projects to demonstrate what AI can do. According to the NY Times, one of the hottest jobs at the moment is Chief AI Officer. If this role doesn’t exist yet in your company, put your hand up because it soon will.

How AI will keep us (digitally) alive forever

Can AI help us commune with the dead? Check out this interesting podcast from the Economist on how companies are helping keep our loved ones alive forever. In summary, companies are training AI models on deceased persons’ data (emails, videos, social media posts and personal recollections from friends and family) to create digital models of them. This is then connected to an AI-generated video avatar, which can interact with the deceased’s family in real time. Connect this to a hologram and you have a digital Lazarus.

That’s all from us this week, folks. Next week, Strategic Agenda will be reporting live from the World Artificial Intelligence Cannes Festival (WAICF) in (hopefully sunny) Cannes. PM me if you’re attending and would like to meet up.

view of the World Artificial Intelligence Cannes Festival



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