In our increasingly hybrid world, how should we approach technologies such as generative AI so the metaverse doesn’t cast a shadow of doom, but forge a bold new future for businesses?

Accenture’s latest Technology Vision report When Atoms Meet Bits: The Foundations of our New Reality, foresees generative AI and other rapidly evolving technologies ushering in a bold new future for business as the physical and digital worlds become inextricably linked.

The Technology Vision is the culmination of comprehensive research and insights from leaders and luminaries around the world including a global survey of more than 4,700 C-level executives and directors across 25 industries.  

Where generative AI is concerned, Accenture has found GPT’s performance on standardized tests as below:

DigiconAsia sought out some perspectives from industry leaders on what generative AI – such as ChatGPT, Bing AI Chat, DALL-E, Midjourney, Synthesia and etc. – would mean for businesses and talents in the coming hybrid world that would likely plunge us into the metaverse:

C K Tan, Senior Director, Solutions & Value Engineering, Qlik:

While generative AI is a promising new technology that has people excited about possible new waves of creativity and ways of working, there are concerns about how these models will negatively impact society. The considerations that are most common include privacy intrusion, the possibility of biases sneaking into AI model results, and even potential fraud or misinformation.”

However, with thorough checks, limitations, and regulations set in place, generative AI can deliver a positive impact across industries and sectors. “From developing new and innovative product prototypes to generating synthetic data to train fraud detection algorithms, we see businesses implementing the technology to automate tasks to save time and improve efficiency.

C K Tan, Senior Director, Solutions & Value Engineering, Qlik

Most generative AI chatbots provide valuable and relevant responses to questions asked, but developing the right questions is essential to using these tools effectively, as the quality of the responses is directly tied to the quality of the questions presented. Here’s why data-informed decision making – the ability to convert information into actionable and verified knowledge to make decisions – is important and where data integration and analytics can help support that.

By analyzing data from various sources across a business, teams can better understand their company, customers, and industry and focus on the most critical issues to get the best possible insights and recommendations from generative AI tools. For example, if improving customer experience is a goal, teams can analyze customer feedback and behavior data to identify common pain points customers experience when interacting with the business. Armed with accurate insights, teams can ask chatbots like ChatGPT the right questions to address pain points and receive timely suggestions to improve the customer experience.

Generative AI can also effectively supplement and improve the work that humans do. As the technology rapidly evolves, businesses should consider implementing generative AI into their work processes to enhance efficiency and drive quality.

Daniel Ong, Director, Solutions Architect, APAC, Digital Realty:

ChatGPT has sprung generative AI into the public consciousness. While the underlying technology is not new, generative AI has potential to impact how we live and work positively. It allows us to quickly trawl through vast quantities of data to develop creative ideas and solutions or accomplish in seconds what could have taken humans hours to complete.

Generative AI can be a welcome aid in areas such as science or medicine. Scientists or researchers often spend years working on hypotheses before even getting to the testing stage. Generative AI models can comb through massive amounts of data and produce novel suggestions in a fraction of the time taken by teams, even in the testing phase.

Daniel Ong, Director, Solutions Architect, APAC, Digital Realty

The novel approaches and creativity exhibited by generative AI models can also be applied to many other industries and use cases to deliver improved outcomes. Many organizations have already turned to chatbots to manage most of their customer interactions and generative AI will allow various aspects of customer service to be conducted more efficiently and, in some cases, with a human-like interactive experience.

However, the effectiveness of generative AI is highly dependent on the datasets fed into the system. The AI training process involves feeding vast amounts of data into the AI models, allowing them to learn from patterns and make predictions. Timely access to rich data sets, dynamically growing and evolving in the locations where they are created, is key.

Raghav Gupta, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Coursera:

While every disruptive technology has brought progress and opportunity, it has also brought about consequences such as job losses and dislocation. The combined forces of the pandemic and automation have propelled employers to rapidly digitize work processes and jobs that are repeatable and predictable.

But now, generative AI has the potential to impact an entire new class of knowledge workers, unleashing a new wave of reskilling imperatives.

We believe that generative AI will require businesses to retool systems, processes, and talent – while also harnessing these new technologies to improve their customer offerings, increase productivity, and stay competitive.

Raghav Gupta, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Coursera

It will drive academic institutions to enhance their curricula and learning experience to make quality education more affordable, interactive, and relevant. It will compel governments to deliver job training programs at the speed and scale required to keep pace with job impact, dislocation, and unemployment challenges. In fact, generative AI will push every individual, in every job, to keep learning in order to stay relevant.

Online learning can support rapid reskilling and upskilling at scale, mitigating potential job impact and dislocation and paving the way for a more skilled and resilient workforce. Employers must invest in a skills-first approach, prioritizing role-based talent development to ensure their employees can evolve alongside the pace of change, no matter their level or role.

Amid rapid transformation, this approach to workforce skilling offers a sustainable talent retention strategy – Microsoft’s Work Trend Index Pulse Report 2022 shows 78% of employees in APAC would stay at their company longer if they could benefit more from learning and development opportunities.

At a time when the only constant in our working world is rapid change, the most critical skill for any individual to develop is the ability to learn, change, and grow. The role of leaders responsible for managing people through change will also be more important now, but also more difficult than ever.

Leadership requires human skills and an awareness of change and context that AI will likely never replace, making skills such as leadership and management, critical thinking, and problem-solving increasingly valuable. The recent Skills Compass report from Coursera and Burning Glass Institute also shows that there are key enduring skills with extremely high longevity that AI can’t supplant. Skills such as teamwork, communications, and public relations are foundational and critical to interpersonal skills that will serve a vital role throughout an employee’s entire career.

By investing in role-based talent development and honing leadership and change management skills across their organization, employers can empower their entire workforce to meet this moment in time.