Author: Stacy Kirk, QualityWorks CEO
A few months before the pandemic, I gave a keynote speech that included my three favorite superheroes:
- Iron Man for his innovation and confidence,
- Hulk for his “Growth Mindset”, and
- Wonder Woman for her unstoppable courage and ability to get to the truth “one golden lasso at a time.”
Their stories are timeless – over 50 years have passed and their story still speaks to people. Now, I am reminded that the characteristics of these fictional heroes can continue to inspire us in 2024 specifically impact, empathy, and speed.
In the past year, we have seen the worst layoffs since the Dotcom Bust. Many of us have headed into 2024 with heightened anxiety, wondering what this means for you, your company, your friends, and your family. The unease is worsened by not having a clear understanding of how many jobs AI will continue to replace and what you can do about it.
It makes sense to be concerned. In less than a year, ChatGPTs IQ has been estimated to advance from 83 to 155 (99% percentile). Combining video, audio, text, and images, Google’s Gemini is looking to be the next era of AI with multimodal comprehension that closely models the human brain.
For companies, it’s a race to who can use AI most effectively. Even QualityWorks has joined the charge by speeding up how we build manual and automated test cases using the power of AI. Speed is in the driver’s seat. Yet, in conversations with many companies and individuals, there are apprehensions about security, value, and controls that are delaying them from using AI.
Starting with AI reminds me of Iron Man’s first suit. Tony Stark, a genius billionaire and weapons manufacturer, created his first Iron Man suit while being held captive by terrorists in a cave. The Iron Man suit was quickly crafted from scrapes as a means of survival. It was clunky and ugly but the impact was that it saved his life.
I had the opportunity to connect with some remarkable individuals – CTOs, seasoned engineering managers, developers, and testers – who either faced recent layoffs or feared they were next. Many of them understandably feel stuck, as if inside “a cave”. They may even see AI as their future replacement. BUT, we need to see is AI as our Iron Man suit. Our suit of survival.
I firmly believe that we are at a critical juncture, a matter of career life or death. In the tech industry, the focus has shifted from growth to efficiency, making the ability to innovate swiftly using tools like AI paramount to future career success. These tools have the potential to bring meaningful 5-10x efficiency to any organization.
Here are my top 3 must-dos to “suit up” for what is going to be a Marvel-worthy battle:
- Learn the terminology. Continual learning is key to staying ahead in this rapidly evolving field. Expand your knowledge of AI terminology by exploring the wealth of online resources available. Stay up to date with the latest tools and keep pace with the ever-changing landscape by following AI leaders and attending virtual conferences.
- Lead an AI initiative. You don’t have to be an AI expert to lead a project in AI. If you are employed, in school, or unemployed, this is something you can do today. Have a bold vision that others can rally behind.
- Identify a problem: It will be important that the results are impactful so make sure you pick something that improves work efficiency over being “cool” tech with no current-day application (e.g. it takes developers testers 2-3 to create their test cases)
- Recruit colleagues: You can always go farther together and you gain internal champions of your initiatives.
- Measure the Impact from the beginning and look to make at least 2x improvement.
- Create baselines: (e.g. how long does it take to do X now)
- Accept some trials will fail. Thats okay. Share your failures with all who will listen. It will show your confidence, open dialogue to better solutions, and even better versions of your ideas. Remember, the first version of the Iron Man suit only lasted about 5 minutes before it fell apart but later versions became more technologically advanced armor equipped with more weapons and flight capabilities. The important thing is to start somewhere – you may have to crawl before you fly.
What’s the lesson? It’s Time to Suit Up! You have what it takes but let AI be your weapon, not your enemy.
For support getting out of the cave, reach out to QualityWorks. We are here to help bring insight into your next steps and battle to find your way with AI. Follow me as I share how Wonder Woman and Hulk inspire the 2024 heroes in us!