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Jeff Kagan: How AI Will Impact the Enterprise for Better and Worse

Why the dark side of AI is about to get a lot more attention.
Equities columnist Jeff Kagan is a telecom, technology and wireless analyst and consultant. He covers 5G, AI, IoT, the metaverse, autonomous driving, healthcare, telehealth, pay TV and more. Follow him at and on Twitter @jeffkagan and LinkedIn.
Equities columnist Jeff Kagan is a telecom, technology and wireless analyst and consultant. He covers 5G, AI, IoT, the metaverse, autonomous driving, healthcare, telehealth, pay TV and more. Follow him at and on Twitter @jeffkagan and LinkedIn.

Image via Clockready/Wikimedia

Artificial Intelligence has been with us for a while and is now starting to impact both the enterprise and the user. It will continue to grow rapidly in different sectors including customers, workers, suppliers, manufacturing, communications and more. While this can give a company a competitive advantage, there is also a dark side to AI we must all beware of and cannot ignore.

The dark side of AI is it will also invade privacy. This will get more attention as we move forward. This means there will be increasing push back from users, the media, investors and more.

Many companies who don’t take this threat seriously, will make mistakes and this can damage a long-built brand and reputation. Advancement in this new kind of technology will be full of surprises, both good and bad.

AI Can Both Build and Damage Your Brand Image

Successfully balancing these two AI issues will be key to enterprise success. While we are still in the very early days of this new revolution, we must prepare to stay ahead of the technology curve, to maintain a competitive advantage, while not making mistakes and ticking off customers, users and investors. One wrong step and you will be the focus of the media onslaught that can be very costly to you damaging your brand and reputation.

This will be a difficult balancing act for many companies. Only some will be successful. Many will fail, especially in these early years. Let’s take a look at how AI will impact the enterprise going forward.

AI will obviously have an impact on the workforce. It will affect every worker, every executive and every customer. Example, as AI continues to grow, it will continue to replace plenty of jobs.

AI Can and Will Invade Privacy of Customers and Employees

Ever walk into a McDonald’s (MCD) and use their AI computer screen to order your meal? That used to be a cashier. This is the same with all the self-checkout aisles in every store in every industry. So, it will have an impact on entry level and basic startup jobs.

AI is attractive to companies. It doesn’t call in sick, doesn’t ask for a raise and doesn’t get into fights with their spouse or kids souring their attitude for the day. However, it will also have a negative impact in many of us.

As this whole sector grows, it will change everything we know about the enterprise. It will start out as a way to improve the way business is conducted. It will save money, be more efficient and speed things up.

As it learns, it will think and make recommendations to improve things. This is the intersection which will rub many companies, workers and customers the wrong way, especially if mistakes are made. And there will be mistakes made, make no mistake.

Only Some Companies Will Take Right Path with AI

Human interaction will continue to be impacted. Think of how the way we interact has changed over the last decade or two. We used to always talk, face to face. Today with electronic messaging like email, text and video conferencing, we are talking with more people, more easily than ever before, but we are also more distant than ever before.

Even when we do talk face-to-face, we have less patience for small talk. This is starting to isolate each of us and will continue to both impact and change our world, for better and for worse.

This paradox will continue to evolve. So, each bright advancement also has a dark side that is seldom discussed but are very important for the health of every company and enterprise going forward. Balancing the push and pull is key to every company.

We Must Be Smart Evolving Toward AI

Just starting down the AI path won’t improve a company on its own. We need to think about how we implement it. We must be smart about the next steps we take as a company and as a society. We must be careful to avoid the hidden traps.

There will be plenty of examples of companies who do the right thing and others who don’t. Some companies will add to our society and others will take away based on the way they use or abuse AI, IoT and all the advanced technologies that will continue to evolve and grow.

There are already examples we can point to. Consider IBM (IBM) Watson. This is starting to help companies in industry after industry become more efficient. It is helping doctors, hospitals and researchers cure illnesses that were deadly before.

IBM World of Watson Event Showcased the AI Future

I attended and was a speaker at the IBM World of Watson in Las Vegas a year ago and they had many high level, expert speakers discussing how Watson and AI are transforming everything. They brought in government officials, health care leaders and more.

Mary Barra Chairman and CEO of GM (GM) spoke about how Watson is being integrated into new cars. She looked ahead at how Watson and AI will transform the automobile industry. She and every other speaker spelled out the incredible ways things are changing and how it will continue to change.

Leaders and Followers in AI and IoT

Some companies will be leaders and others will be followers. There will also be some who don’t participate. The leaders will pave the path going forward, but they will also take the arrows. The followers will take the paved road more safely but have less impact on the shape of things to come. The companies that don’t participate will eventually struggle and many of them will simply fade away.

With that said, AI is the future. However, that does not mean it’s all green ahead. Like everything else, there are good parts and bad parts to this future. The road ahead will be full of surprises and potholes for those who are not paying close enough attention.

Going forward we need to be very careful of every step we take. We need to continue to advance rapidly, but we also need to be smart about it. Just because we can move ahead rapidly does not mean we should. Advancement without thought is how mistakes are made.

AI will have an impact on every part of our lives, both business and personal. We must think ahead. We must think past the mind-blowing innovation and consider how this technology will impact our lives, for better and for worse, and take the right steps along the way to avoid being the next public scapegoat.

Jeff Kagan is an columnist. Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst, speaker and consultant. He follows wireless, wire line, telecom, Internet, cable TV, IPTV, Cloud, Mobile Pay, FinTech and communications technology. Email him at [email protected] His web site is Follow him on Twitter @jeffkagan.

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