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  • Writer's pictureJakob Nielsen

Differing Approaches to Increasing AI Awareness in Companies

All companies need to increase employee understanding of the new AI world. But this is particularly important for knowledge-intensive companies, since AI is a forklift for the mind and particularly helps with intellectual work. UX professionals, especially, need to get with the program.

AI is a forklift for the mind. (Midjourney artwork.)

Bloomberg ran a story surveying several leading consulting companies on how they are educating their staff about the new abilities created by AI:

  • PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is rolling out mandatory AI training over 5 months to its entire US workforce, starting with explaining the basics of generative AI to all employees. More advanced training will be provided to engineers and senior leaders.

  • Booz Allen Hamilton offers twice-weekly voluntary AI training sessions and has integrated more AI training into its new hire onboarding program.

  • Publicis Sapient will require all engineers to complete training on prompt engineering for generative AI by September.

  • Coursera is taking a learn-by-doing approach, reimbursing employees to experiment with ChatGPT and share learnings. However, the CEO recognizes that more structured training by managers will also be needed.

5 months is much too slow to embrace the AI revolution. I also don’t think “prompt engineering” is the most valuable way to think about knowledge-worker use of AI (even if it’s currently a necessary evil to help users overcome the articulation barrier.

Of the 4 approaches, the one most in line with my thinking is that of Coursera: pay for all knowledge workers to have accounts with several AI tools (not just ChatGPT, though that’s the most important one) and encourage them to experiment with what works in their job (and share lessons-learned with colleagues). I also like that they recognize the value of more systematic thinking beyond tinkering, but hands-on learning is the most important.

One big reason to get everybody hands-on experience with AI is that such experience changes how employees think about AI to be more realistic than when their impressions of AI are only fed by the scare-mongering press.


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