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C-suite Toolkit helps executives navigate the Artificial Intelligence landscape

C-suite Toolkit helps executives navigate the Artificial Intelligence landscape

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Artificial Intelligence creates new opportunities but also raises new risks for businesses and society. The AI C-suite Toolkit aims to help executives take advantage of opportunities and understand the risks of AI by asking a series of key questions.

The World Economic Forum has published the AI C-suite Toolkit to support executives in their Artificial Intelligence implementation decision making.

The toolkit provides a holistic approach to AI, covering multiple dimensions businesses need to consider when making investments in AI. Emphasis is given on potential risks these technologies create and how to ensure the ethical and responsible use of them.

“The key skill executives need to develop is the ability to understand the art of the possible with AI while identifying the main risks it creates,” said Kay Firth-Butterfield, Head of AI and Machine Learning at the World Economic Forum.

Furthermore, Theos Evgeniou, Professor at INSEAD and Co-Founder of Tremau, said: “Organizations need to adopt new data and AI risk management practices, processes and tools in order to both comply with upcoming regulations and to ensure customer trust.”

The new toolkit is the result of a collaboration among several AI experts and executives across companies and industries. It also builds on the previous World Economic Forum guide that’s targeted at boards of directors.

Simon Greenman, Partner at Best Practice AI and Member of the World Economic Forum’s Global AI Council, said: “AI is like the Internet: it feels optional until it’s too late. We were delighted to contribute Best Practice AI’s practical digital strategy and transformation experience working with executives globally to this world class effort.

“C-suite leadership is key to deliver data-enabled business model transformation – and senior management learning critical to ensure that this is done ethically and sustainably. The toolkit provides both.”

The AI C-suite toolkit raises and discusses key questions that company executives need to consider when making investments in AI. These questions cover aspects around AI and business strategy, the impact of AI on an organization, AI maturity and organizational change, best practices for implementing AI, understanding and managing AI risks, and adoption of ethical and responsible AI practices and processes.

Efe Erdem, MEXT Group Director and Head of C4IR Turkey, said: “With our strong expertise in manufacturing consultancy and plus100 SIRI maturity assessments, we see that the foundational knowledge of AI in operationalizing the strategy is visible as a common need.

“Global research on the subject confirms that using AI has benefits like providing cost reduction, inventory minimization, quality increase, profit optimization etc, and potential risks like strengthening inequalities.

“Creating a platform for understanding the benefits and mitigating the risks is required, especially at the executive level. With the modularity and extensive understanding of AI, this toolkit will be a reference guide for all leaders.

“We are excited for this toolkit to come to life and serve as a critical guideline for the industry.”

Organizations at various levels of AI maturity can benefit from the steps laid out in the AI C-suite Toolkit to leverage.

Nihar Dalmia, Canada Government and Public Services Leader, Omnia AI, Deloitte, said: “As an advisor to C-suite executives of organizations aspiring to become AI and Data-driven, we have observed firsthand how fundamental it is for leaders to understand how to make informed decisions such that their organizations can truly reap the benefits of AI in the coming years.

“We believe this guide will be instrumental in helping executives identify the right opportunities to solve problems using AI and overcome the challenges and barriers they will face on their journey.”

The toolkit states: “A culture of large volume experimentation, data-driven decision making, and ethical AI distinguishes market leaders.” The authors and contributors urge organizations to pilot this toolkit and share their learnings of using it.

The AI C-suite Toolkit on Empowering AI Leadership is a timely report for C-suite executives as more organizations embrace AI across their enterprise,” said Anand Rao, Global Leader, Artificial Intelligence, PwC, USA.

“PwC is delighted to collaborate with the World Economic Forum on this toolkit to provide a practical and operational framework to implement AI in a responsible manner. The holistic and enterprise-wide end-to-end governance will enable C-suite executives to take advantage of the benefits of AI while also addressing the societal and ethical risks.”

Automation is key

Following the release of the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report, Chuck Everette, Director of Cybersecurity Advocacy at Deep Instinct, gave us his opinions on its contents, stressing the importance AI will play in the future of cybersecurity:

Chuck Everette, Director of Cybersecurity Advocacy at Deep Instinct

“The World Economic Forum’s report into cybersecurity highlights that Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions are the next step in cybersecurity, with 48% of respondents believing automation and Machine Learning will have the greatest influence on transforming the cybersecurity landscape in the next two years.

“As the rise in cyberattacks continue, more people are looking towards automation to help deal with threats. Solutions that only mitigate the impacts of a cyberattack are no longer enough to fully protect organizations, therefore businesses will naturally look towards solutions that can prevent cyberattacks altogether. Deep Learning, a more advanced subset of AI, enables the prevention of cyberattacks and it is already being used to transform the cybersecurity landscape.

“Deep Learning mimics the workings of the human brain in order to learn whether activity is malicious or benign. Unlike Machine Learning which requires security teams to manually input data, Deep Learning is fully autonomous.

“This means it is able to prevent and predict cyberattacks. Some of the fastest ransomware only needs 15 seconds to encrypt a network, but security teams don’t have time to wait for attacks to be executed to then check if they are malicious. 

“Deep Learning helps deliver a sub-20 millisecond response time stopping a cyberattack, pre-execution, before it can take hold. This means security teams are proactively stopping cyberattacks rather than waiting for them to happen.

“The independent nature of Deep Learning means that it is able to spot threats with a greater accuracy than Machine Learning, including zero-day threats. Due to the existence of Deep Learning within cybersecurity and its ability to actually predict cyberattacks, there is no doubt that automation will indeed have the greatest influence on transforming the cybersecurity landscape.”

Tackling the skills shortage

Following the release of the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report, Jawahar Sivasankaran, President and COO at Appgate, discusses the skills shortage that urgently needs to be tackled in all regions across the globe.
“Every cybersecurity expert is constantly worrying about the threats their organization is exposed to and how they can stop them. However, the other great challenge for cybersecurity leaders is how to stop the current skills shortage seen in the industry.

“The World Economic Forum’s report into the cybersecurity landscape stated that less than 25% of companies with 5,000 to 50,000 employees, ‘have the people and skills [they] need today’. This skill shortage can leave organizations vulnerable to cyberattacks with security teams no longer having the knowledge and experience to deal with certain situations.

“Individuals within security teams have the constant pressure of not feeling prepared, ultimately leading to stress and the eventual departure from the industry altogether. According to the report 88% of security-focused executives describe being ‘moderately or tremendously stressed.’ Those who are stressed are not going to stay in the industry for long and therefore the skills gap is exacerbated.

“Part of the reason why so many companies have this shortage is due to the mass exodus of baby boomers taking early retirement due to the pandemic, which has forced younger generations to step up and take their place without necessarily having the skills or experience to do so. Organizations must find the right balance in security teams and ensure that different generations are working together.

“Appgate’s research into generational differences showed 80% of baby boomers were willing to re-enter the industry as paid consultants. This would result in security teams having more experience; therefore, they would feel more confident in dealing with high pressured scenarios and be able to transfer important skills to younger generations.

“Younger members of security teams who are confident that they have the right skills and training are less likely to feel stressed within their job. Naturally if employees are less stressed, they are more likely to enjoy their work, which leads to fewer people leaving the cybersecurity industry and an eventual narrowing of the skills gap.”

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