American Top 40
I ran around town last weekend doing errands and listening to American Top 40 Music Countdown. I pondered this blog, the future, and my endless to-do list. After almost five months of being technically homeless from Hurricane Ian, we will soon move into our home. 🙌🏻 My thoughts were popping like someone had thrown a box of firecrackers in the bonfire on the 4th of July. I don't recall what the top songs on the charts were, but I remember thinking, "my, the top 40 sure has been around a long time." I Googled it. Yup, it's been around since 1970. A little younger than me. 😳
I remember my solo dance parties listening to the Top 40 countdown in my bedroom in middle school. Growing up in the South in a little town of fewer than 800 people, there wasn't much to do. I had no idea where the future would take me, but I knew it was the hell away from there. It felt like hell at the time, anyway. Yet it was the fires that forged who I am today, from the accent that I can't seem to get rid of after leaving decades ago to the funny Southern colloquialisms, most of which I never say but thought it be entertaining to sprinkle throughout this blog. I had big dreams for the future. Some things never change. And that's a good thang. 😃 But enough about history. Let's move from the fires of yesterday to the fires of today.
AI and Chatgpt have the world ablaze 🔥🔥🔥
I've really been diggin' into Chatgpt, AI, and all the possibilities it holds for the future. For anyone who loves innovation and infinite possibilities, it's hard not to be excited. It has set the world of innovation ablaze with no signs of taming the fire in the near-distant future. If there were a Top 40 for news in the world, AI and Chatgpt would certainly be in a tight race for the #1 spot. Likely, the contender in such a competition would be the growing distrust for governments and large corporations. While they seem to be separate and unrelated, I am of the belief that all things are connected, and thus the blog image. But one more quick story before we jump into the five reasons AI could cause the death of large corporations.
Recently I met with a leader from the world's leading information technology research and advisory firm, and the topic came up. I was shocked when she told me employees were prohibited from using Chatgpt. What? I questioned. A company known for its in-depth analysis and actionable guidance for helping organizations understand technology trends, trajectories, and potential targets for the disruption had forbidden Chatgpt from being used inside the walls of its organization. Hmmm. 🤔 Perhaps they already understood the theory that was starting to formulate in my head - when you play with fire, you can get burned.
Five Reasons Why AI could be the Death of the Large Corporations
#1 Happier than a dead pig in the sunshine (Southern meaning)
Since AI first came on the scene, Corporations have been dreaming of the day they can take advantage of the technology for its cost savings, customizability, and scalability. And as described recently in Harvard Business Review, AI provides corporations with "employees that never tire, never complain, never seek a raise, and always follow company policy." Their lives would be so very happy! Sounds blissful if you're a company executive. Happy as a pig in the sunshine, until you recognize the its dead. Corporations will be happy until they recognize that for every AI-related layoff, they are actually unleashing an AI-related competitor. But more on that in #4 below. In the meantime, it's important to remember the Golden Rule.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
So as organizational leaders seek to achieve their needs while not only disregarding the needs of others but intentionally amplifying and multiplying the needs of others, please do not be surprised when employees do the same. Disregard your needs for their own.
#2 Give him a nickel for two dimes, and he'll think he's rich (Southern meaning)
Organizations feel like they've won the lottery when they can trade AI for a human. But then, we know what happens to most lottery winners. 😏 Just as AI gives organizations savings, customizability, and scalability, it does the same for the individual. We are all connected. Our decisions are not done in isolation from others.
For what you do to others, you do to yourself. (and vice versa) -Eckhart Tolle
According to a LinkedIn survey, 61% of US employees are considering handing in their resignations in 2023, and 95% of them are confident about their career prospects despite fear of layoffs. Chatgpt is likely pushing up the timeline for employees looking to leave. Before Chatgpt, employees were hesitant because they didn't know how to blog, copyright, or many of the other functions needed to be a successful entrepreneur. But their learning curve just turned from a slow crawl to a rocket ship. If executives thought the great resignation was tough, hold onto your britches. Employees will no longer be objectified as the cog in the wheels of corporations.
#3 Madder than a wet hen (Southern meaning)
It is anticipated that automation has the potential to eliminate 73 million US jobs by 2030, which would equate to a staggering 46% of the current jobs, according to Zippia.com. And according to Daily Mail, Chatgpt may account for an additional 20%. Not only are these individuals employees, but they are also customers. Customers who no longer (at least temporarily) have the financial means to buy. And what they do buy will likely be done elsewhere. But it doesn't stop there. These employees are mothers, brothers, sisters, husbands, family, and friends as well. Talk about bad PR. The word of mouth that results from this could be the most destructive fire of all the fires we mentioned so far. Will it be the spark that burns the house down? Time will tell, and number 4 will reveal how quickly it can burn to the ground.
#4 "We'll I'll be" "What in the Sam Hill" did you think would happen (Southern meaning)
Now that corporations have laid off a huge chunk of their workforce and set them up perfectly as competitors with the ease of AI. In addition, they've pissed off their employees' kinfolk and friends and have taken a hit to their bottom-line profits. This is where a good Southerner would say, "Y'all pull up a chair and grab some popcorn cuz things are fixin' to get interesting." Why? Because what happens when profits start to suffer? Hint - it's happening right now in a single word - layoffs. When profits suffer in an effort to meet market expectations, companies go to what's historically been the biggest line item expense - employee payroll. Wait a minute. That dog won't hunt no more. Meaning that the tactic of slashing people to bolster profits won't work as effectively anymore. Hmmm...some organizations will be sweating more than a hooker in church.
#5 Cut off your nose to spite your face
For centuries now, we have been on the path of Corporate Cannibalism
Corporate Cannibalism is the consumption of the resources (mainly physical, mental, and financial energies) of the majority humans for the benefit of a few.
It is the survival of the fittest mentality to benefit a few individuals. However, in nature, it has been proven that cannibalism decreases the expected survival rate of the whole population. Unfortunately, the business world is slow to get the memo. Will AI be the tipping point where we not only kill the lives of employees but organizations kill their own lives as well? Hopefully not. Good Lord willing, and the creek don't rise. But that doesn't seem likely as everything seems to be risin' lately.
Quit being ugly (Southern meaning)
It's high time we quit being ugly and recognize that AI isn't the time for sitting back and waiting for the robotic cows to come home. While the cows may travel faster with AI, so will the demise of corporations that don't learn to cultivate the potential of their employees thru empathy, shared vision, ideation, and much more. The future of leadership is leading by design. It's not some distant future that's way out yonder. It's here now.