The 10 Questions About AI Every CEO Should Be Ready to Answer

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Messaging is crucial for articulating the unique value of your AI story. Just the fact that you're using AI in your business will not move most journalists to take an interview, let alone write.You'll need to deliver a strong, well-rounded story. We are already witnessing fatigue among journalists about companies hyping AI.

The proportion of publicly traded companies that mentioned AI on earnings calls in the fourth quarter of 2023 hit a high of 36%. Make sure your story and your spokespeople can stand up to scrutiny. So it's important to consider the type AI story you are trying to land and the audience you are trying to reach. 

Showcase the What, the Who and the Why

Telling a great story should showcase the What, the Who and the Why. 

What are you doing with AI and in what part of the business?

Who is leading the AI charge internally?

Highlighting their background and their vision for AI-led transformation.

And finally, the Why. Why are you implementing AI? 

Highlight the business drivers such as revenue growth, process automation, customer satisfaction and so on.

With that in mind, here are 10 questions that will help frame the discussion about your AI transformation narrative.

1. What is your AI strategy, and where are you on that journey?

Typically, when discussing strategy and roadmap, leaders will want to talk about the main areas of focus for your AI deployments such as customer experience, business process automation, revenue optimization and supply chain efficiency. And be ready to discuss the initiatives in early pilots and prototypes, where you have advanced deployments, and the timeframes for scaling key initiatives. 

2. How do you ensure your company’s AI deployments are ethical?

Delivering a robust narrative about the ethical integrity of AI systems is crucial. Embedded biases related to race, gender, or ethnicity in AI technologies can lead to discriminatory outcomes, harming individuals and damaging corporate reputation. Here you can discuss how the company is utilizing diverse datasets, inclusive design practices and input from traditionally marginalized groups as the foundations of its AI development. 

3. How are you protecting intellectual property, customer data and employee privacy in your AI systems?

Most companies will want to address how AI models are designed using privacy-first principles to protect intellectual property, customer data and employee privacy at every stage of deployment. You may also want to talk about your use of security audits and compliance checks, as well as building a culture of data privacy awareness across the organization, where every team member understands their role in maintaining high security standards.

4. Have you tested your systems to mitigate bias and misinformation in the output of AI systems?

The question about biases in AI is gaining greater attention and traction in the media. This is an opportunity to discuss the frameworks and processes the company has in place to ensure AI systems operate correctly and produce explainable and bias-free results. Leaders should emphasize the company's strong stance on AI transparency and clear AI governance frameworks. 

5. Can you provide examples of benefits AI has delivered to your customers and the business?

The question about benefits is an opportunity to unpack the value AI is delivering to the business. Some thought starter topics might include: Improvements in customer experience and satisfaction

Algorithmic recommendation engines that are increasing average purchases

Process automations that reduce staff burnout and increase morale. 

As well as operational improvements, financial results and strategic decision making powered by AI can be strong areas of focus.

6. How are you dealing with employee concerns about potential job displacement from AI automation?

Discussing employees' concerns about the role of AI in the workforce is an opportunity to showcase how the company is addressing these issues transparently and empathetically. Highlighting hiring trends, new job roles, and training programs designed to improve workforce adaptability can shine a light on how you are dealing with the human dimension of AI deployment. 

7. How do you ensure the decision making outcomes of AI systems are transparent?

Explaining how AI systems actually generate results and decisions is a hot topic in the business media. This is an opportunity to discuss the company's approach to transparency and the use of explainable AI models. Here you can highlight the internal teams devoted to overseeing and auditing your AI systems to ensure they align with your commitment to transparency and ethical standards. 

8. How are you measuring the success and impact of your AI projects?

Explaining how your team measures success is a great opportunity to bring your AI story together. With a focus on the benefits of AI-led transformation. Here are four areas you may want to consider highlighting: 

  • Financial Returns from AI projects compared to the investment made. This can include cost savings, revenue growth, and improved profit margins. 
  • Operational Efficiency: Where AI has improved process efficiency, reduced processing times, lowered error rates, and increased productivity. 
  • Customer Satisfaction and Net Promoter Score: Assessing how AI has impacted customer experiences by improving response times, personalized interactions, and overall satisfaction. 
  • Employee Engagement: Measuring changes in employee productivity and engagement where AI has helped employees focus on higher-value tasks, leading to increased job satisfaction and performance. 

9. What is your strategy for keeping your AI technology competitive?

AI technology is moving fast and this presents a great opportunity to bring the discussion back to strategy and showcase how you will stay competitive as AI evolves. Here you may include a discussion about your Investment in research and development; strategic partnerships with suppliers; talent acquisition and retention strategies; collaboration with leading academic institutions; and your participation in industry consortium and working groups on AI. 

10. What are your long-term goals for your AI initiatives?

Finally, the long-term goals question is an opportunity to loop back to key themes you've already discussed. One idea is to emphasize how AI provides an opportunity to drive sustainable growth, foster innovation, enhance competitive position by building a resilient and adaptive organization. And it might also be worth noting how your organization sees AI in the larger context of other earlier technology inflection points that your organization navigated successfully such as the internet, e-commerce and the cloud.

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