So what's a CEO to do?
1. Expect that Software as a Service (SaaS) will become more and more like "Everything as a Service."
That goes for everything from sourcing talent to getting probabilistic predictions of the sales of your products. Your company needs to keep up with the times, embrace new services and A.I.-based technologies or fall behind. Similarly to what happened a decade ago, when enterprise mobility entered the strategic road map of major corporations, A.I.-enabled technologies will become an integral part of the strategy planning process in the near future.
2. If you think A.I. is not here—at least not in a conspicuous way when it comes to your business—think twice.
Do your marketing people hire research or customer insights reports? Most likely your contractors are using big data analytics to deliver their conclusions to you. Is your competitor doing so in-house? That may indicate they can react and move faster in decision-making and eventually interact rapidly and more decisively with (your) customers.
3. Conduct an A.I. inventory.
Map out existing internal and external resources of your company and match them to available big data, analytics and A.I.-related technologies and tools.
4. Delegate it.
To make it simple and to monitor A.I. readiness of your company, you should earmark a tech champion in your management team (if there isn't one already). The chief information officer promoted to chief digital officer or chief marketing officer will do for the time being. Task the tech champion to screen for any of these referred tools or technologies currently in use either internally or externally. If the answer is a hard no internally, run a supplier and partner appraisal to understand how far A.I. is from the core of your business. Give yourself a score on a scale of 1 to 10 and start pushing the company to embark on the A.I. journey. You probably already did this when you told your management team to start using mobiles, tablets or smartphones.
5. Think ahead and don't wait; there's no reason you can't, or shouldn't, be the one to A.I.-innovate.
If you don't have internal resources to do it, partner with corporate innovation advisors, launch your own company sponsored start-up incubator, or even a venture fund with a focus on the specific A.I.-enabling technologies that you have identified as relevant and disruptive to your business. Many of these innovation mechanisms are already one click away, in the cloud.
Stephen Hawking said, "Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change." While we wait for a General Purpose Artificial Entity (aka, A.G.I.) to do that for us, as my daughter promptly inferred, let's take the driver's seat.