5 min read

Who owns AI?

Last week I participated in the Master B2B Roundtable in Minneapolis (full disclosure, AAXIS was a sponsor). If you are unfamiliar with these events, Andy Hoar and Brian Beck bring B2B practitioners together in a casual setting to openly discuss challenges, successes and trends they are experiencing in their respective industries. These events are wildly popular in large part because they truly are a ‘safe space’ for dialogue with peers.  

My role was to listen, ask an occasional clarifying question, but really to listen. The conversation starters were primarily focused on AI, B2B Commerce, and Digital Strategy. One that sparked immediate debate was this question:  

Who in the B2B organization should own the digital customer experience? 

The group quickly modified this question though and instead asked this:  

Who in the B2B organization should own AI?  

This was the real question that everyone wanted to ask and what they really wanted to know was if AI initiatives were as crazy, chaotic and lacking clear ownership in other organizations just as much as they are in their own organization. Through lots of great discussion, the answer was a resounding ‘Yes’. It turns out that AI efforts are largely being led by people that have a burning passion for AI. The title of the person with that passion varies widely as do the methods, disciplines and boundaries for giving AI life in a corporate context.  

While many of the ideas for how to make use of AI in the business setting are super cool, as you might expect, the business case supporting it with a clearly defined ROI is to use an AI term, a bit of a hallucination. One notable exception was the one organization that used AI to translate their website into multiple languages with truly staggering ROI. Kudos to them for effectively measuring the returns. 

So if passionate people are finding innovative ways to use new technology, why does it matter who owns AI? On this point the group was in agreement. However, some of the cool AI use cases do bring questions and challenges, some of them legal, that need to be answered. Consider this scenario, a beloved associate whose voice has been on hundreds of training and instructional videos is retiring. AI makes it possible to continue using her voice forever, but should the company do so?   

I won’t even attempt to argue that question one way or the other, but what I will leave you with is this, how AI answered the question of who owns AI:  

“AI, or Artificial Intelligence, itself can’t be owned in the traditional sense. It’s a concept and a collection of algorithms.”
– Gemini 

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