AI and Business Innovation—A View from Forbes Media

Uche Ogbuji

an AI generated image of a robot talking to a human

AI is better than anything else at speeding up search processes. An entrepreneur in the AI age still needs a strong base of experience, or an extraordinary amount of intuition about a problem, but then they can use AI to help avoid blind alleys and chart more optimal paths in business formation.

I contributed the quote above, and other points, to “AI’s Latest Job: Capture The ‘X’ Factor In Business Innovation” a new article by Joe McKendrick on Forbes Media. The piece touches on the results of a survey by Mercury, a financial technology company. The full survey was of 150 startup founders and 486 creative professionals, but the Forbes article narrows in on the former.

While a majority of the founders, 55%, still prefer human creativity over AI in their startups, technology is a big part of their growth. Top applications include data analysis to inform creative decisions (42%) and product development to identify and prioritize features or services (25%).

The survey itself also finds that “80% of startup founders have integrated AI into their creative processes”.

I’ve written and spoken on a variety of platforms about my perspective on emerging tech, and I try to clearly reconcile to others the fact that I’m both an arch humanist and an AI positivist. I don’t think these perspectives need to be at odds. In an earlier blog post here I wrote about how one of my goals in founding Oori has been to insist on AI technology that helps us address human concerns and reduce human inequities of all sorts.

In that post I also wrote about how I’m a poet, DJ and composer as well as an engineer, and I don’t believe for a moment that technology will inevitably swallow up those arts. On the Emerging Form podcast for creatives earlier this year I tried to offer a nuanced perspective on where AI might fit into the world of the arts.

As with poetry, I think business innovation can be a world where AI needn’t automatically be at odds with humans. I’ve been involved in a variety of startups and other business ventures since founding my first company in 1997. It’s clear to me that inspired humans will always have a role in leading the way in enterprise, and AI can be a powerful tool for making business leaders more effective, and in helping develop the changing ways in which we’ll all find our livelihoods.

It was interesting to see quotes complementary to my own from Flavio Villanustre, global chief information security officer of LexisNexis Risk Solutions. It’s important that people in the industry continue pondering how we can work to help people adapt to AI, and certainly to make sure that AI adapts to people.

Entrepreneurs and corporate innovators seeking to rev up creativity “need to understand generative AI is just a tool; in no way can it replace human creativity,” Villanustre emphasizes. “It’s unlikely a generative AI model will independently produce the idea for the next Tesla or Amazon.”

These sentiments dovetail nicely with later comments I make insisting that while AI can make innovators more effective, those building and using AI have a responsibility to keep the human element at the heart of innovative process.

About the author

Uche Ogbuji (he/him)

Uche is an engineering leader with a background of nurturing diverse teams in tech innovation. Three decades of history as a consultant, founder & CTO. Expert & pioneer in data architecture, distributed systems, AI, open-source software and more. Also a writer, speaker and mentor.