Artificial Intelligence Rule of Thumb

Here’s one rule of thumb that speaks to its disruptiveness:

If a typical person can do a mental task with less than one second of thought, we can probably automate it using AI either now or in the near future.

A lot of valuable work currently done by humans — examining security video to detect suspicious behaviors, deciding if a car is about to hit a pedestrian, finding and eliminating abusive online posts — can be done in less than one second. These tasks are ripe for automation. However, they often fit into a larger context or business process; figuring out these linkages to the rest of your business is also important.

Harvard Business Review

I don’t actually know a lot about the real life application of AI, but this article was very helpful for me to understand the direction of innovation.  Definitely something to keep in mind as part of a long term product strategy.

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Don’t Be An 18th Century Product Manager

Even when you find genuinely good things to copy, there’s another pitfall to be avoided. Be careful to copy what makes them good, rather than their flaws. It’s easy to be drawn into imitating flaws, because they’re easier to see, and of course easier to copy too. For example, most painters in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries used brownish colors. They were imitating the great painters of the Renaissance, whose paintings by that time were brown with dirt. Those paintings have since been cleaned, revealing brilliant colors; their imitators are of course still brown.

Paul Graham

The lesson here for product managers is to make sure you understand the customer for that feature you are thinking of copying.  You never know when a feature that looks so bright and shinny from the outside is another product manager’s nightmare feature on the inside.

The competitor’s customers are probably different, their customer problems are probably different, and their long term strategy is probably different.  If you aren’t building something that is truly valuable to your customer, you could end up with a feature that flops…that stays “brown”.

Innovation Strategy Presentation

I would be excited to facilitate a innovation workshop for your team or organization.  The material can be customized around your industry and challenges.  We will work together to explore multiple innovation techniques and add them to your strategy toolbox:

  • The subtraction technique
  • Big unsolved problems
  • Disruptive innovation

Check out my Innovation Strategy Deck and feel free to send any questions or requests to public@jayfisher.info