It’s time to get comfortable with the idea of AI – it’s easier than you think

It’s time to get comfortable with the idea of AI – it’s easier than you think


Artificial intelligence (AI) is an intimidating concept for most of us. The Hollywood notions of SkyNet, world domination and C-3PO droids paint a dubious (and somewhat threatening) picture that’s far from reality.

What’s closer to the mark is Amber Cases’ reality of the ‘cyborg anthropology’ – where we rely on smartphones and computers as “external brains”, and craft “secondary lives” for ourselves through our online interactions – ironically, this article was written on my iPhone in an airport lounge!

Start with the basics

Foremost, it’s important to understand that AI tools can seriously change the game when it comes to solving complex problems and improving outcomes for businesses, governments and society. The great news is that they’re also becoming increasingly easy to use. Recently, I had the privilege of taking over 50 of my Nous Group colleagues through a session on problem solving using AI, and they all commented that it was far easier than they first thought. Enabling people to understand and embrace AI tools can expedite society’s progress in addressing and overcoming critical issues. It should be on every organisation’s agenda for 2017.

Build familiarity through fast design

The exercise that I took my colleagues through was a fast design interactive session using an ideation framework. It required them to list all of the client problems that they had worked on – which being a group of consultants was quite a lot – that also fitted into a typical AI use case framework. This brought to life just how many circumstances that they had been involved in, which could have benefitted from an AI solution. Further, it highlighted how easy some of the latest AI solutions are to use.

The teams then chose a specific problem that fitted into the AI criteria, and then moved into more detail around the application of the solution. They were off and running quickly, and were soon comfortably using language like data design, decisions dashboards, corpus constructing and Q&A pairing!

This rapid AI design framework resulted in five solid use cases in under an hour. Apart from the effectiveness of the session format, what struck me was the quality and depth of the real world solutions that were put together. They included citizen-centric government hubs, international trade indexation, risk management in public hospital service provision, and child incident risk platforms.

This workshop approach is so adaptable it would be a great introduction to AI in both the government and corporate worlds.

Get in touch to see what the new world of AI problem solving tools might do for you.