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How AI Is Changing Contracts

harvardbusiness.org 12 February 2018
Contracting is a common activity, but it is one that few companies do efficiently or effectively. In fact, it has been estimated that inefficient contracting causes firms to lose between 5% to 40% of value on a given deal, depending on circumstances. But recent technological developments like artificial intelligence (AI) are now helping companies overcome many of the challenges to contracting. The main challenge firms face in contracting arises from the sheer number of contracts they must keep track of; these often lack uniformity and are difficult to organize, manage, and update. Most firms don't have a database of all the information in their contracts - let alone an efficient way to extract all that data - so there's no orderly and fast way to, for example, view complex outsourcing agreements or see how a certain clause is worded across different divisions. It requires a lot of manpower to draft,

We Need to Approach AI Risks Like We Do Natural Disasters

harvardbusiness.org 7 February 2018
The risks posed by intelligent devices will soon surpass the magnitude of those associated with natural disasters. Tens of billions of connected sensors are being embedded in everything ranging from industrial robots and safety systems to self-driving cars and refrigerators. At the same time, the capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms are evolving rapidly. Our growing reliance on so many intelligent, connected devices is opening up the possibility of global-scale shutdowns.

Stop Talking About How CSR Helps Your Bottom Line

harvardbusiness.org 31 January 2018
Companies are starting to care more about corporate social responsibility (CSR). Among the largest 250 companies in the world, 92% produced a CSR report in 2015, informing shareholders and the public about the firm’s activities. That’s up from 64% having such a report in 2005. Today, Fortune Global 500 firms spend around $20 billion a year on CSR activities.

The Question with AI Isn't Whether We'll Lose Our Jobs - It's How Much We'll Get Paid

harvardbusiness.org 31 January 2018
The basic fact is that technology eliminates jobs, not work. It is the continuous obligation of economic policy to match increases in productive potential with increases in purchasing power and demand. Otherwise the potential created by technical progress runs to waste in idle capacity, unemployment, and deprivation. —National Commission on Technology, Automation and Economic Progress, Technology and the American Economy, Volume 1, February 1966, pg. 9.

As AI Meets the Reputation Economy, We're All Being Silently Judged

harvardbusiness.org 29 January 2018
In the Black Mirror episode Nosedive, the protagonist, Lacie, lives in a saccharine world of pleasantries in which every personal or business interaction is scored. Everything depends on the social score, and everyone is desperate to move up in the rankings. But the omnipresent rating game has one big catch: ranking up is incredibly hard, while ranking down is rapid and easy, like a free-fall.

How to Get Employees to Stop Worrying and Love AI

harvardbusiness.org 25 January 2018
David Maister was angry. He had been surprised and annoyed to learn that his company had set up a new AI-based marketing system that was doing most of what he thought was his job as digital marketing manager at Global Consumer Brands: deciding what ads to place where, for which customer segments, and how much to spend. And when he found that the system was buying ads for audiences that didn't fit the company's customer profile, he stormed in to his boss's office and yelled, 'I don't want men and women over 55 buying our product! It's not our audience!' Maister demanded that the system vendor modify it to enable him to override its recommendations for how much to spend on each channel and for each audience target. The vendor scrambled to give him the controls he wanted. However, after being given the reins on budgeting and buying decisions, Maister saw his decisions were degrading results. For example, despite the company

Why Companies and Universities Should Forge Long-Term Collaborations

harvardbusiness.org 24 January 2018
In the last decade, there has been an explosion in the number of research deals between companies and universities. Companies, which have been reducing their spending on early stage research for three decades, have been increasingly turning to universities to perform that role, seeking access to the best scientific and engineering minds in specific domains. And faced with stingier government support of academic research and calls for them to contribute more to their local economies, universities have been more receptive.

How Will AI Change Work? Here Are 5 Schools of Thought

harvardbusiness.org 24 January 2018
The future of the workforce is one of the biggest issues facing CEOs today. It’s abundantly clear to all that artificial intelligence, big data analytics, and advanced robotics make it possible for machines to take on tasks that once required a person to do them. How should companies prepare, strategically, to thrive in this world?

Is Your Company's Data Actually Valuable in the AI Era?

harvardbusiness.org 17 January 2018
jan18_16_688576276Carmen Martínez Torrón /Hayon Thapaliya/Getty Images AI is coming. That is what we heard throughout 2017 and will likely continue to hear throughout this year. For established businesses that are not Google or Facebook, a natural question to ask is: What have we got that is going to allow us to survive this transition? In our experience, when business leaders ask this with respect to AI, the answer they are given is 'data.' This view is confirmed by the business press. There are hundreds of articles claiming that 'data is the new oil' - by which they mean it is a fuel that will drive the AI economy. If that is the case, then your company can consider itself lucky. You collected all this data, and then it turned out you were sitting on an oil reserve when AI happened to show up. But when you have that sort of luck, it is probably a good idea to ask 'Are we really that lucky?' The 'data is oil' analogy does have some truth to it. Like internal combus

How Automation Will Change Work, Purpose, and Meaning

harvardbusiness.org 11 January 2018
The vast majority of humans throughout history worked because they had to. Many found comfort, value, and meaning in their efforts, but some defined work as a necessity to be avoided if possible. For centuries, elites in societies from Europe to Asia aspired to absolution from gainful employment. Aristotle defined a 'man in freedom' as the pinnacle of human existence, an individual freed of any concern for the necessities of life and with nearly complete personal agency. (Tellingly, he did not define wealthy merchants as free to the extent that their minds were pre-occupied with acquisition.) The promise of AI and automation raises new questions about the role of work in our lives.

How One Company Made Its Analytics Investment Pay Off

harvardbusiness.org 4 January 2018
In the age of rapid advances in data science and artificial intelligence, many organizations still struggle to incorporate advanced analytics capabilities into their business models. True incorporation requires bold decisions about reorganizing the business to make analytics a key component of strategy. Here we present the case of Grupo Financiero Banorte (GFNorte), a large Mexican financial group, where the analytics transformation has been a success story. This case came to light when one of us, Jose Murillo, GFNorte’s chief analytics officer, presented it to a graduating class of the Queen’s College analytics program, where the rest of us learned about it. (Disclosure: Jose is long GFNorte; the rest of us do not have GFNorte holdings.)

The Internet of Things Is Going to Change Everything About Cybersecurity

harvardbusiness.org 18 December 2017
Cybersecurity can cause organizational migraines. In 2016, breaches cost businesses nearly $4 billion and exposed an average of 24,000 records per incident. In 2017, the number of breaches is anticipated to rise by 36%. The constant drumbeat of threats and attacks is becoming so mainstream that businesses are expected to invest more than $93 billion in cyber defenses by 2018. Even Congress is acting more quickly to pass laws that will - hopefully - improve the situation. Despite increased spending and innovation in the cybersecurity market, there is every indication that the situation will only worsen. The number of unmanaged devices being introduced onto networks daily is increasing by orders of magnitude, with Gartner predicting there will be 20 billion in use by 2020.

The Real Reasons Companies Are So Focused on the Short Term

harvardbusiness.org 13 December 2017
dec17-13-637552554-MirageC MirageC/Getty Images This has been a remarkable year for the markets.  The S&P and the Dow indexes are up 18% and 19%, respectively.  But this run-up isn't based on solid business foundations.  Quarterly profits have only increased 5% since 2012, but investors' valuations of those profits (as measured by earnings per share) has increased 59% over the same period. What's behind the disconnect?  Some argue that profits are stagnant because of short-termism-that decades of focusing on current profits over long-run innovativeness has resulted, now, in companies that are hollowed out. Indeed, a study by Rachelle Sampson and Yuan Shi found that company short-termism is negatively correlated with innovativeness, measured as RQ ('research quotient,' a measure of the return on R&D investments). Investors punish companies with a short-term orientation by applying higher discount rates to them, which increases the cost of capital for those co

How Machine Learning Can Help Identify Cyber Vulnerabilities

harvardbusiness.org 13 December 2017
People are undoubtedly your company’s most valuable asset. But if you ask cybersecurity experts if they share that sentiment, most would tell you that people are your biggest liability.

How Technology Tests Our Trust

harvardbusiness.org 12 December 2017
Rachel Botsman, the author of Who Can You Trust?, talks about how trust works, whether in relation to robots, companies, or other people. Technology, she says, speeds up the development of trust and can help us decide who to trust. But when it comes to making those decisions, we shouldn’t leave our devices to their own devices.

The Key to Better Cybersecurity: Keep Employee Rules Simple

harvardbusiness.org 21 November 2017
It's a common adage that employees are the weak link in corporate cybersecurity. But I believe they are also the best defense, if they are given policies that are easy to follow and not too numerous and complex. Employee security training and best practices need to be user friendly and simple to be effective. Cyber attackers don't need to have advanced hacking skills to break into corporate networks; they just need to know how to trick people into opening attachments and clicking on links. Phishing attacks are the cause of 90% of all data breaches and security incidents, according to the latest Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report. Clearly, employees are the main gateway into the organization for attackers. As a result, they are also the first line of defense. The Verizon report found that employee notifications are the most common way organizations discover cyberattacks.

Why the Entire C-Suite Needs to Use the Same Metrics for Cyber Risk

harvardbusiness.org 17 November 2017
When it comes to cybersecurity, the chains of communication that exist within an organization, if they exist at all, are often a mess. Multiple conversations about cyber risks are happening across a multitude of divisions in isolation. At the same time, members of the C-suite are measuring their potential impact using different metrics - financial, regulatory, technical, operational - leading to conflicting assessments. CEOs must address these disconnects by creating a culture that promotes open communication and transparency about vulnerabilities and collaboration to address the exposures. Organizations of all sizes across all sectors are experiencing an exponential increase in their exposure to cyber risk. The number of endpoints that need protecting is exploding as consumers demand more digital interactions and smart devices. (Gartner estimates there will be more than 20 billion connected devices by 2020.) Adversari

Can You Be a Great Leader Without Technical Expertise?

harvardbusiness.org 15 November 2017
There is a broad assumption in society and in education that the skills you need to be a leader are more or less transferable. If you can inspire and motivate people in one arena, you should be able to apply those skills to do the same in another venue. But recent research is rightly challenging this notion. Studies suggest that the best leaders know a lot about the domain in which they are leading, and part of what makes them successful in a management role is technical competence. For example, hospitals managed by doctors perform better than those managed by people with other backgrounds. And there are many examples of people who ran one company effectively and had trouble transferring their skills to the new organization. Over the last year, I've been working with a group at the University of Texas thinking about what leadership education would look like for our students. There is broad consensus across many schools that

Understanding Customers by Blending Human Insight and Machine Learning

harvardbusiness.org 27 October 2017
How can companies use machine learning to efficiently understand the needs and wants of their customers, without sacrificing the insights that come from employees’ intuition and empathy? My company is in the business of helping other firms create new products and services that will be both functionally useful and emotionally resonant with customers. As part of this work, we solicit materials online from a firm’s customers and potential customers. In a given year, we receive approximately 13 million unstructured text submissions and over 307,000 photos and videos from about 167,000 diverse contributors, all of whom are answering open-ended questions posed by us, as well as generating their own conversations on topics of their choosing. Our challenge: finding the unmet needs and often unarticulated longings in this wealth of content. To do this, we use a method of human-supervised machine learning that we think other companies could learn from. Here’s how it works.

Netflix and Why the Future of Streaming Looks Like Old-School TV

harvardbusiness.org 19 October 2017
Netflix hit the industry with some bombshell moves this month. First, it announced that it plans to spend $8 billion on original content next year (including on 80 new movies). This is far more than any other online player. Obviously, this is great news for its 100 million-odd customers worldwide.

Blockchain Could Help Us Reclaim Control of Our Personal Data

harvardbusiness.org 5 October 2017
It's a strange world we live in when large companies such as Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion are able to store huge quantities of our personal data and profit from it in a way that doesn't always benefit us. And when those same companies lose our personal data and make us susceptible to identity theft, there's virtually nothing we can do about it. Equifax lost the data of more than 140 million people, and recompense is not forthcoming. Meanwhile, the CEO may be stepping down with a pension worth $18 million. Clearly, the system is broken, and it's time to stop and ask ourselves why we continue to rely on a system that doesn't stand up to the challenges we face in a digital society.

Is Your Company Adapting Fast Enough to Thrive in an Increasingly Digital World? - SPONSOR CONTENT FROM DXC TECHNOLOGY

harvardbusiness.org 3 October 2017
As digital technologies permeate all aspects of their operations, companies around the world anticipate the need for massive change over the next five years, according to a new global survey by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services. But can these organizations adapt fast enough? Almost all of the 376 business leaders in the survey said they expect that the pressure to transform will only accelerate and intensify. Three-quarters of these executives – from primarily large organizations in financial services, manufacturing, technology, healthcare, retail, and many other industries – say their organizations will require substantial or extensive change to become even more digital.

Whiteboard Session: How Does Blockchain Work?

harvardbusiness.org 20 September 2017
The power of a distributed ledger.

Technology Is Changing Transportation, and Cities Should Adapt

harvardbusiness.org 13 September 2017
It has taken only a few years for ride-hailing services to make urban journeys more convenient in many cities, much to the delight of city dwellers the world over. And as innovation brings self-driving cars, electric vehicles, in-vehicle data connectivity, mechanisms for sharing rides and vehicles, and other technologies to more people, getting around cities will become easier, faster, and safer.

3 Ways Companies Are Building a Business Around AI

harvardbusiness.org 23 August 2017
There is no argument about whether artificial intelligence (AI) is coming. It is here, in automobiles, smartphones, aircraft, and much else. Not least in the online search abilities, speech and translation features, and image recognition technology of my employer, Alphabet.

PE Firms Are Creating a New Role: Leadership Capital Partner

harvardbusiness.org 11 August 2017
During the last 20 years, private equity (PE) investors have assumed an increasingly influential role in business, with publicly traded firms dropping from about 7,500 to 3,800. Today, large private equity firms not only buy and sell (phase 1), buy and hold (phase 2), but buy and transform (phase 3). This third phase has led to large private equity organizations governing their assets in a unique way.

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