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From mat leave to machine learning: my curious journey into AI

Pensions & benefits AI

Eight months of change

It was eight months ago that OpenAI launched ChatGPT. Within two months it had amassed 100 million users and was considered the most successful product launch in history.

Talk of OpenAI and generative AI tools hit the headlines so much so that even I, lacking in sleep and drowning in nappies with a new-born, was aware of it. Although sadly it didn’t appear to have the magic answer on how to get my son to sleep!

Becoming curious

At a distance I read news articles and watched news items about the rise of conversational generational AI tools (that’s the like of ChatGPT to those not fully versed in the language of AI). I became curious.

The mainstream press varied widely on their views of the potential opportunities and risks arising from these new tools – from doomsday predictions of the end of humanity to suggestions that it's merely ‘tech hype’ which no one will remember five years from now.

On my return to work, I was keen to understand where the reality lay on that spectrum and how AI might already be changing the world of business.

Embracing a business changing opportunity

Since my return from maternity leave, I have seen that for most organisations (LCP included) there is a genuine appreciation that AI is not ‘tech hype’ but represents a business changing opportunity.

What’s different to previous technological advances is that the chat user interfaces make generative AI tools accessible to everyone in the organisation. This is a real shift and means that identifying the opportunities for change in the business isn’t solely the domain of the ‘I.T. crowd’ (the organisation’s tech/digital team).

I’ve seen myself at LCP that encouraging self-driven research and experimentation (with appropriate guardrails) can lead employees to develop AI use cases. LCP is supporting employees to do this through the purchase of ChatGPT 4 licences, which my colleagues have been using to experience first-hand the power of this tool and develop potential use cases in the business.

And, having been thought up by those employees who are doing the job day in day out, these are the use cases which in my view will shift the dial in terms of a team’s productivity, the nature of the analysis they are able to perform and ultimately the level of service we’ll be able to deliver to our clients.

With the appropriate encouragement and opportunities for collaboration, employees can even innovate new products and/or services that effectively incorporate these tools. The role of the tech team then becomes supporting the scaled development and deployment of the new processes and products across the organisation, with appropriate controls.

To foster the environment where exploring and embracing AI is encouraged, it is important to provide regular updates to employees and offer opportunities to share experiences. We have been doing this at LCP with internal briefing sessions and discussion groups so that everyone is brought along the journey from day one.

Digital trust

Of course, no blog on AI would be complete without recognising the risks of generative AI. These include risks which aren’t exclusive to AI algorithms – for example the potential to perpetuate biases in the training data – as well as new risks (like the potential to 'hallucinate'). It will be business critical to manage these risks from the start—not only to meet fast-evolving regulatory requirements but also to protect their business and to earn consumers’ digital trust.

In my view ‘digital trust’ will become a key differentiator for those businesses who are successful in their deployment of AI. Businesses who are able to give their clients confidence that their personal data is being protected and clarity on how their data is being used will have a competitive advantage.

Beyond Curious

The last four weeks since I returned from maternity leave have convinced me that AI presents a transformative business opportunity to enhance the delivery of day-to-day tasks but, more excitingly, also to innovate and reimagine the way we work.

I’m excited to be part of this change and to be involved in our first season of our new ‘Beyond Curious with LCP’ podcast which focusses on AI, addressing the opportunities and challenges and transforming the way we do business day-to-day.

As part of my research for the podcast series, I have started to have conversations with individuals in a wide range of areas across LCP, including energy and healthcare, and it is fascinating to hear how they are embracing the opportunity of AI and where that might lead us to next as a business.

Where to hear more

To hear more, you can catch our ‘Beyond Curious with LCP’ podcast on all major audio channels. We will be releasing a new episode weekly and will be joined by guests both within and outside of LCP to discuss a range of topics, from the psychology of AI to how AI will revolutionise healthcare.