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Much has been written and said about rapidly advancing artificial intelligence systems – particularly generative AI like ChatGPT – from the perspectives of technologists and engineers.

In a fascinating new article in the January-February 2024 issue of the Harvard Business Review magazine, Leading in a World Where AI Wields Power of Its Own,” Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms, two of the world’s top experts on power dynamics and co-authors of the paradigm-shifting bestseller, “New Power: How Anyone Can Persuade, Mobilize, and Succeed in Our Chaotic, Connected Age,” outline how the world is changing and the concrete leadership skills necessary in a new age where managers must compete and work alongside sophisticated AI systems that function as actors, not simply tools.

Heimans & Timms - AI systems

“With the emergence of these new AI actors,” which Heimans and Timms dub autosapient agents, “we are at the dawn of a major shift in how power works, who participates, and who comes out on top.”

Explaining the ability of these AI systems to learn autonomously and make complex judgments, Heimans and Timms decode this new world to help leaders understand and adapt to the shift in society, the economy, and cultural and organizational dynamics in a way that is truly novel and useful. Underscoring that leaders, regardless of industry, need to take an active role in the AI debate alongside technologists, the authors explain that AI tech is too important to be left to technologists alone.

“Industry leaders have to really understand what the technology represents and how to use it or they’ll end up in a passive posture and be sidelined,” Heimans and Timms caution.

Heimans & Timms HBR Jan 2024 CTA - AI systems

They go on to emphasize that AI systems aren’t just nuts-and-bolts technology, they’re truly a catalyst for a tectonic shift in power systems – from government and geopolitics to business and society. A strong foundation of multistakeholder governance is vital considering the broad social, psychological and political impacts of these quickly advancing autosapient agents.

With a broad lens and the unique perspective of adept strategists – Heimans is co-founder and Chairman of Purpose, a global agency that puts purpose and participation at the core of what organizations do. Timms is President and CEO of Lincoln Center, co-founder of Giving Tuesday and a Saïd Business School visiting fellow – the duo are able to offer customized analyses and real-world examples that leaders across sectors can use to inform their companies’ strategic design and organizational goals as well as the process of constructing moral safeguards.

To stay ahead of the curve, industry leaders must understand what the new AI systems mean for their business – and how to use them. Stern Strategy Group connects you with renowned thought leaders whose insights, strategies and management frameworks help organizations fuel growth and disruptive innovation to better compete in a constantly changing world. Let us arrange for these esteemed experts to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting sessions, workshops and keynotes.

How to Lead When AI Can Make Its Own Decisions was last modified: January 11th, 2024 by Whitney Jennings