There is a lot of hype about Artificial Intelligence and the promise of this exciting technology could save everything from work to our health and even the Earth itself. Although the opportunity is there, we are still a long way off from saving the Earth.

A more achievable impact of AI can be found within businesses through the aggregation of big data and the application of machine learning. Many C-suite executives today can articulate the great benefits of AI and machine learning since they are becoming key components of business strategies.

Hold up. Let’s have a quick recap of these “alien-form” definitions …

  • Artificial Intelligence: this is just computers that perform tasks that normally require human intelligence
  • Big Data: this is just big data sets that can be analyzed to reveal patterns, trends, etc.
  • Machine Learning: this is giving technology the ability to learn and improve from experience versus being explicitly programmed.

Back to my regular scheduled programming …

The C-suite can stay relevant if they truly understand the promise and limitations of AI in their specific field. They need to be able to separate the promise from the reality of what this can do. To determine this, you need a practical working knowledge of how to use machine learning technology. In order to lead a company into this new era of technology, one must become data literate with a working knowledge of machine learning.

Leadership must be deeply connected to technology and innovation in order to succeed in their industry. The C-suite can’t be siloed from exposure to new technology. Because of this, leaders must place significant value on cultivating hands-on knowledge of machine learning tools.

Executives today can cultivate machine learning skills to add to their leadership capabilities by providing invaluable direction for their companies and to place them in a position to lead under a new digitally-driven work environment.

Now is the time for C-Suite executives to tap into technology and take advantage of all that machine learning can offer their business by focusing on one algorithm at a time. Machine learning is only a few years old, so it is the ideal time to connect the bridge and teach yourself the language of machine learning. Knowing machine learning will position your company better as an innovative industry leader and to stay ahead (or above) of the competition. The newfound knowledge and confidence that becoming familiar with machine learning will bring will truly benefit your team and your company for years to come.

If you don’t get this right — you won’t be around. Not using AI is your car never coming out of first gear.

Machine learning is the new literacy that will define and transform businesses and industries in big ways, maybe even in bigger ways than the internet did. Since before technology ever entered the workforce in such impactful ways, businesses have been able to be successful while keeping management and leadership functions separate from IT departments. Executive leaders only needed a surface level knowledge in order to oversee technical innovation and growth within their company.

Machine learning isn’t this abstract technology that will take loads of training and hours of endless practice to understand, there are many powerful, free and open-source machine learning tools that take away the complexity and make it easy for anyone to understand machine learning as long as they possess a bit of technical orientation, discipline and time.

What C-suite executives need to do in order to stay relevant is to take the time to dive into machine learning and figure out ways to implement it into their business.