Harvard Business Review: What boards need to know about AI

Board members not used to taking a hands-on role in the daily operations of a company should be prepared to do so as artificial intelligence becomes increasingly prevalent, according to the Harvard Business Review.

Douglas Merrill, PhD, former CIO and vice president of engineering at Google, gave board members of all industries a crash course on AI and its "disruptive potential" in an article for HBR earlier this month.

As companies prepare to invest in AI, their boards will need to be able to answer questions about the technology's cost, benefit and overall impact on resources, operations and competition. Here are four pillars of AI integration that will aid in that understanding, according to Dr. Merrill.

  • AI and machine learning efforts should be extensions of a company's existing work — so they should be straightforward enough for anyone to understand with only a basic grasp of the technology.
  • A lack of AI expertise can actually be helpful: If board members do not understand the purpose or impact of a vendor or internal team's proposal, it is probably not the right project for the company.
  • Companies do not need to gather invasive amounts of personal data to maximize the abilities of machine learning algorithms; most can unlock significant insights simply by analyzing existing databases.
  • AI is not a one-time investment, but rather a regular operating expense that must be maintained and restructured as new technology is adopted and more data acquired.

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Scientists use AI to detect new class of autism-causing genetic mutations

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