Updated: Aug 21
AI is quickly becoming commonplace, and its pervasiveness will only grow. Boosted by AI, stores, transportation, and homes will become smarter, and most apps and applications will employ AI to some degree. It’s only a matter of time before kids' toys join the AI bandwagon and begin teaching us a thing or two.
Resistance to AI in organizations prohibiting its use is temporary, as giants like Microsoft and Google lead the way in integrating AI into everyday productivity suites and tools. Following suit, every app and application developer is furiously looking for ways to integrate AI into their products and offerings - making its ubiquitous integration inevitable.
Enter the need for an AI Advocate - the champion who supports and promotes AI’s responsible and productive use of AI technology throughout an organization.
These AI ambassadors inspire and educate on AI's potential while keeping ethics and data privacy firmly in mind. Their mission is to harness the power of AI to elevate organizational performance and decision-making without compromising on standards, policies, and regulations.
What does this role of the AI Advocate in Learning and Development?
As an AI Advocate, key responsibilities include:
Education: One primary responsibility is to clearly communicate the benefits, risks, ethics, and potential applications of AI technologies to a diverse range of stakeholders.
AI Opportunity Identification and Support: Stay up-to-date with the latest trends and developments in AI technology in order to collaborate with various teams to identify opportunities for AI implementation, fostering innovation and problem-solving.
Monitoring AI technology: Regularly monitor and assess the functionality and effectiveness of deployed AI systems, recommending any necessary improvements.
Cross-Functional Collaboration: Work closely with departments such as IT, legal, and data privacy to ensure AI initiatives align with the organization's goals, policies, and values.
Training and support: Facilitate AI-related training for teams across the organization on responsible and effective use of AI tools. Offer ongoing support and address inquiries or concerns that arise.
Why is this role essential now?
The IBM AI Adoption Index increased from around 31% in 2021 to 35% in 2022 and is expected to reach 52% in 2023. The global AI market is predicted to exceed $1.5 trillion by 2030, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 38.1% from 2022 to 2030 (SnapLogic). This growth is largely a result of organizations striving for a competitive edge, with productivity being a primary driver. By offloading tedious, repetitive, and routine tasks to AI, employees can focus on higher-value tasks, leading to higher satisfaction rates, with 68% wanting more AI-based technology in the workplace. AI is also being explored to enhance customer experience, drive sales growth, replace knowledge-level training, optimize supply chains, and reduce staff costs. Consequently, the urgent need for a dedicated AI advocate is critical to empowering organizations to harness the power of AI and maintain a competitive position in the market.
Where does this role sit within the organization?
The AI advocate role should report to a senior leader within the organization, such as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) or Chief Information Officer (CIO), to ensure strategic alignment and access to comprehensive support and guidance.
Key reasons for this reporting structure include:
Technical expertise: Working closely with a senior leader with technical expertise, such as the CTO or CIO, will provide the AI Advocate with technical support and resources, aiding in the effectiveness of their role.
Strategic alignment: Aligning the AI Advocate's responsibilities with the organization's strategic goals is crucial. Reporting to a senior leader guarantees that their work remains consistent with the company's vision and mission.
Cross-functional collaboration: The implementation of AI technology calls for cooperation among various departments, such as IT, legal, and data privacy. The AI Advocate will benefit from the senior leader's oversight, fostering collaboration across these diverse functions.
Budgetary support: Deploying AI technology can entail significant costs. Reporting to a high-level executive will help the AI Advocate secure the necessary budgetary support to effectively execute their role.
Why is the AI advocate essential to L&D?
An AI advocate is crucial for L&D teams, as they can lead the way in utilizing the vast, sophisticated AI tools at their disposal to accelerate the design and development of training programs, minimize costs connected to subject matter experts, elevate the learner's experience and efficacy, and transform L&D into a data-driven entity. In essence, the AI advocate can establish L&D as a beacon that directs the organization toward ethical AI usage, while simultaneously maintaining a competitive edge in the market.
Here are some additional resources:
Fast Company: Why every Fortune 500 business needs a chief AI officer: .
Worklife: The rise of the chief AI officer .
Venture Beat: How to choose the right Chief AI Officer.