I believe that people are the secret sauce to succeed in AI. It may sound paradoxical, but human creativity and cooperation are the foundation for machine intelligence.

It also works the other way around, though: humans can be the bottleneck to successful AI projects.

I recently worked on a project that involved multiple units of my client’s company. We identified a clear need, gathered the data, and prototyped a complex system. I was proud of the technology we built. The solution was elegant, sophisticated, and rather accurate.

When we showed it to people who were going to use it, they pointed out we had failed to include an important variable. We were trying to optimize a process looking at just half the story.

We just didn’t know that the other half existed. The unit responsible for that process failed to inform us about it.

You see, even the people who are not writing code can make or break an AI project. Actually, I’d say especially them :)

How can you avoid this from happening to your team?

I believe there are three pillars to integrate AI in any business process:

  • Mindset: why are you even using AI? What are your expectations? Is your mission clear and shared by everyone?
  • Education: AI knowledge can’t be centralized in the AI team. Everyone working on AI should have a foundational education on its principles. This will open the “black box of AI”, increase trust, and create a shared vocabulary.
  • Teamwork. AI is not for lone wolves. It’s a team sport. Different departments need to cooperate and have a shared vision.

If your company has decided to invest in AI it should work on these pillars before focusing on large neural networks and complex algorithms.

How’s your company doing? Are you creating the right human conditions to make the most out of machine intelligence?