The human future of GenAI

We’ve not even begun to tap into the vast potential of generative AI, said Dr Seth Dobrin, CEO of Qantm AI at the FIPP World Media Congress 2024… but we need to make sure our infrastructures – and our people – are ready.

Having worked successfully in the AI space for well over a decade, Seth Dobrin, former Chief Global AI Officer at IBM, is well placed to understand the power and potential applications of generative AI. And he believes that more organisations need to tie their AI deployment to tangible value.

During his keynote speech at this year’s FIPP Congress, he quoted a McKinsey report stating that AI has the potential to add 26% to an organisation’s GDP by 2030; generative AI could offer an additional 40% of economic growth. “This value,” he said, “is ours to take… or lose.”

More from the FIPP Congress 2024: Alastair Lewis appointed new CEO of FIPP

Currently, he said, many companies are not ‘taking’ that value, with only 5% within the industry deploying AI across their entire organisations.

“With ChatGPT, the first thing people think is, ‘I want to have a conversation with it and create some content’, but that’s actually the least interesting thing you do with these models,” he said in his keynote speech. “For most organisations, AI has really been a scam – they have invested millions, even billions of dollars in these AI programs and get little to no value. Why? Because they have no strategy.”

A key part of maximising the value of AI, Seth stated, is to automate processes that consume considerable staff time and input, from content discovery to marketing and digital commerce, from ESG development to sourcing and building supply chains.

Giving an example of a cybersecurity project he had worked on previously, he showed that generative AI was able to completely automate the company’s entire phishing report system. He was keen to underline, however, that automation need not displace people. “Not one of these cybersecurity professionals lost their job; in fact, it freed them up to do the work they were actually being paid to do. They were ecstatic.”

Relating this to the media, he asked the audience, “When you’re creating content, how much time do you spend ensuring, as an example, that this content meets brand guidelines? Imagine how powerful it would be to automate that so you could adapt content for clients across the world, making sure that whether your client is in France or the Middle East, that you’re in line with regulations. That’s creating genuine value.”

Although some businesses have made a start on implementing organisation-wide GenAI, by fitting it into existing governance and accountability structures and leveraging existing human resources and technical capabilities, he predicts that many will struggle to successfully capitalise on its potential value. Why? “Because the culture is not ready. The infrastructure is not ready. The data is not ready – and these models are completely useless without the data. And the governance structure is not ready.”

How can an organisation make sure it is ready? Seth suggested a number of steps that can be taken to leverage the power of AI. These begin with laying strong foundations by going back to business strategy and organisational culture: “What are your organisation’s goals? What is it you report to your shareholders, your owners? How is AI going to help you accelerate those business objectives? Just like with any other technology solution, you need to foster a culture that allows for those changes.”

Other key areas include building appropriate skills across the organisation – and measuring the impact of implementing those skills. “Who will be responsible for implementing training and development? Creating the right mentorship programmes? And then aligning that with KPIs? That’s how you realise the business value.”

Seth also believes that going back to business value is the key to bringing teams along with you – even those who may be resistant to organisational change. “Leaders almost always want the change. People at the bottom want the change because they see it as an opportunity for mobility. The people in the middle see change as a threat to their job security.”

He told Congress delegates that driving and incentivising those middle managers is a fundamental step on the path to change. “It’s going back to the business value, to organisational goals, giving them objectives they can relate to – like with any cultural transformation you’re trying to make. And AI is just another cultural change – we forget that because AI is a new, shiny tool, it’s just another cultural change.”

Seth finished the keynote by urging attendees to assess their ‘AI iQ’, to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses, and to future-proof their organisations. “AI could transform your business, generating new value and having significant impact on your bottom line. AI has the potential to revolutionise every industry – including this one.”


Your first step to joining FIPP's global community of media leaders

Sign up to FIPP World x