A panel of international experts discussed the opportunities and challenges that AI can bring to a range of business sectors.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to transform customer experience, said a panel of leading experts during a special reception hosted by AGBI at the Capital Club Dubai, DIFC, on 15 November.
The event welcomed an audience of senior business leaders from across the UAE to explore emerging trends, opportunities, and challenges brought on by the advancement of AI, as well as the best ways for businesses to navigate its widespread influence on people, processes, products, and productivity.
The discussion was led by Michael Bayler, a strategy consultant and author, who was joined by a panel of international AI specialists – including Mario Rizk, a principal in Oliver Wyman’s Digital Practice; Jessica Groopman, a Silicon Valley-based analyst; Professor Neil Maiden, the current director of the UK’s National Centre for Creativity enabled by AI (CebAI); and Noel Tock, a technologist and founder of digital experience agency, Human Made.
In their discussion of key narratives framing public perception of AI in the workplace, the panelists identified customer experience (CX) as a key field that would undergo a transformation thanks to AI, notwithstanding the challenges of aggregating a single organization’s huge volume of data into a single platform, and associated data security challenges.
“I think it’s very tempting to replace individual pieces of workflows with AI, and this is not necessarily the best outcome for customers,” said Noel Tock, who counts AirBnb, TechCrunch, and Siemens among his agency’s clients.
“What is the best outcome for customers? Being able to send the right message, to the right person, at the right time.
“There’s a great opportunity [with AI] to go back to the first principles of what is your ideal customer, who are they, spending time with them, and then working back from there.”
Michael Bayler agreed, citing the $600 billion value of the global CX market.
“Anticipating a possible customer need, looking at where customers are in context, and then being able to feed them real-time solutions [is key] to data and digital customer service, but there are basic fundamental attitude problems to resolve in the customer service market before we can move forward,” he said.
Jessica Groopman highlighted other narratives that will shape the CX space, including acceleration and building, as well as their combined impact on the democratization of knowledge at an organizational level.
Mario Rizk added, “There’s a new set of algorithms around large-language models, and consumer expectations…and experience will change, and this change will drive product and market change. At the same time, there are conversations about how to resist the rabbit hole of AI. This is the concern.”
The solution doesn’t lie in resisting AI, though, but in learning to leverage its capabilities to foster creative problem-solving across business operations.
“Creativity and creative problem solving isn’t something that happens occasionally,” said Professor Neil Maiden.
“It’s embedded in the world. Combining generative AI technologies with machine learning, creative search, and old-fashioned, symbolic AI enables us to come up with new architecture that can deliver augmentations to creative problem-solving.
“What we’ve done is bring all these technologies together to prompt business leaders to be more creative and solve problems in more creative ways.
“Creativity is often seen as a trade-off with productivity, but our observation with these technologies is that there’s a sweet spot with both,” he added.
As AI continues to drive new approaches to creativity within businesses, individuals need to maintain their sense of purpose, agreed the panelists.
“There’s something fundamental about how we define ourselves. Often, an idea we generate is an extension of ourselves. So, it’s really important [with the adoption of AI] that ownership remains with the people,” said Professor Maiden.
This sense of purpose needs to extend beyond the individual to the organization, with leaders carrying the responsibility of redefining corporate identity, echoed Bayler.
He added, “The incredible lack of leadership and what corporate purpose means has to be resolved, and there needs to be greater stewardship of purpose. The real question isn’t ‘what is your AI strategy?’, it’s ‘how is this strategy in service to our purpose?’ Purpose should be the primary lens through which we interrogate our approach.”