Reflecting on 2023 and New Year Goals

My plans to Maximize AI's potential

I'm grateful for reaching 25,000 subscribers in my newsletter! Up from just 500 in early 2023, this number was my goal to close the year 🥳

A heartfelt thank you to every member. Your messages and feedback are deeply appreciated.

The end of the year is my favorite time for reflection on the past year and planning for the next, and I thought it might be yours too.

Today I will cover:

  1. My Reflections on 2023.

  2. My personal goals and how I’m planning to maximize AI's potential and contribute to progress in 2024.

  3. My AI Predictions for the Industry in 2024.

Let’s dive in

Reflecting on 2023

Key AI Advancements:
This year was the one I've been waiting for for over a decade. I joined IBM to work on AI with Watson, but we weren't quite achieving the breakthrough we needed. ChatGPT changed that; it captured the industry's attention with an application that sparked the imagination of everyone in the field.

"This is the iPhone moment of artificial intelligence"

Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia

There was a lot of action as every single company invested in AI, featuring integrations and innovations. The open-source community further energized the entire space, creating a sea of opportunities for everyone to adopt Generative AI.

I have written an e-book summarizing some of the major announcements of 2023, which you can access for free here:

My Professional Achievements:

This year at IBM has been exhilarating. I've been a longtime advocate for AI, even during slower periods, and have always been optimistic about its potential. Our efforts have accelerated progress, leading to the launch of the next generation IBM Watson, the watsonx evolution, with a Generative AI platform for businesses.

I assumed a new role leading the Generative AI pre-sales team in the Client Engineering division. We aimed to form the most competent team of industry experts to showcase IBM's Generative AI capabilities. Drawing from my experience leading the IBM Data Science Elite team, we set ambitious goals.

One key objective was to establish the 'AI Engineer' role, a comprehensive profession focusing on end-to-end AI implementations. This role is rapidly gaining prominence in the industry.

In just three months, we hired 450 AI Engineers from a pool of over 25,000 applicants, ranging from seasoned experts to new graduates. We're proud of bringing top talent to IBM.

We've also completed over 1,000 Generative AI implementations across various industries, learning immensely and developing best practices for quick and safe implementation.

Through creating diverse assets and engaging in numerous industry events, we've been actively promoting IBM’s vision in the Enterprise AI space.

I'm proud of the progress we've made and our position as industry leaders.

I started my creator journey:

I’ve been creating content for a very long time, but I never took it seriously. I had multiple blogs and several viral posts on social media, but I never considered content creation as something I should pursue more earnestly. All that changed in 2023, and it has helped me immensely.

I had so much to learn this year that the best way to force myself to stay up-to-date and absorb all the new concepts was to write about them simply, keeping the concepts organized and my ideas in order. So far, I think I’ve done pretty well. Here are the results:

  • 51,000+ followers on LinkedIn

  • 25,000+ subscribers to this newsletter

  • 9+ million impressions on LinkedIn from my daily content

  • Consistently wrote my newsletter every week in 2023, delivering over 367,000 emails with my tips and experiences in AI

  • Achieved a 42% open rate on my newsletter

  • Maintained a 6% open rate — even though I don’t optimize for this

  • The AI Bootcamp reached over 9,000 students, all learning about AI with me

It’s incredible how much you can accomplish with a vision, focus, efficient systems, and consistency, no matter what.

My reach extended beyond online platforms to in-person events as well. I participated in multiple conferences and events, including trips to New York City, classes at Harvard Business School, panels at Berkeley University, and speaking engagements before an audience of over 1,000 people in Buenos Aires.

Talking about Generative AI @IBM Conference in Buenos Aires

Teaching Generative AI for Business at Harvard Business School

Learnings and Challenges to Overcome:
This year's key lesson is the value of human-centered AI, which we've seen enhances business solutions when paired with human skills and intuition. As we approach 2024, the focus is shifting towards production-ready AI implementations.

I've faced challenges in keeping up with the rapid developments in AI and managing a high volume of communications across various platforms. Balancing responsiveness with the overwhelming number of messages has been tough.

I wish I had more hands-on time with technical projects, but it's not currently part of my role. Additionally, improving my delegation skills remains a priority, as I continue to work on building trust.

Goals for Progress in 2024

My goal for 2024 is to maximize AI's potential while mitigating its risks. At IBM, I aim to continue developing trustworthy AI systems that are transparent, explainable, and fair. I also plan to advocate for responsible AI deployment policies and best practices. On a personal level, my focus is on educating more business leaders about AI in an accessible manner through newsletters like this and other platforms.

In summary, my objectives for the year include:

  1. Continuing to develop trustworthy AI systems at IBM, ensuring they are transparent, explainable, and fair.

  2. Advocating for responsible AI policies and best practices.

  3. Educating more business leaders on AI through writings and talks.

  4. Expanding my team's efforts on AI initiatives for social good.

  5. Formalizing an ethics review board to oversee AI projects.

  6. Growing my LinkedIn community by consistently providing high-quality content. Follow me here!

  7. Writing daily on LinkedIn and publishing my weekly newsletter.

  8. Engaging more hands-on with the latest AI technologies.

  9. Reducing unnecessary meetings to focus on high-impact work.

  10. Enjoying every minute with my wonderful family.

I aim to grow this newsletter to 75,000 subscribers and reach 150,000 followers on LinkedIn in 2024. There's also a possibility of expanding my presence to new platforms like X, Instagram, or TikTok.

More importantly, this year, I want to be braver and try new things. I have a rough idea of what that entails, but I need more time to fully understand it. We only live once, and I want to live a life without regrets.

AI Industry Predictions for 2024

I'm not a big fan of predictions, as there are already too many out there. I'll keep it simple, focusing this section more on my recommendations for successfully implementing AI in business, based on some of the latest trends I'm observing

Trends and Innovations:
In 2023, I helped deliver hundreds of pilots. In 2024, the pilot phase will slow down, and we will see pressure to transition these business use cases into production. Concerns around the misuse of AI will also intensify, underscoring the need for thoughtful leadership from tech companies. Regulatory debates, particularly around AI ethics, are expected to become more prominent. However, if we build and deploy AI responsibly, I am excited about the innovations that will benefit both business and society.

Small Language Models and open-source models will become the first choice for businesses. They are more cost-effective, faster, and easier to customize. With advancements in hardware, deploying these models for inference in production environments will no longer be prohibitively expensive.

AI agents are poised to become one of the greatest innovations. We will move beyond simple chatbots to develop end-to-end autonomous and automatic AI systems. These systems will have access to tools and will be able to execute tasks just as a human would.

Skills will continue to be the biggest obstacle. You will need to decide whether to build an in-house team or subcontract the work. AI is only going to expand, and individuals with the necessary expertise are heavily recruited and expensive.

Industry Impact:
The impact and ROI of Generative AI will become increasingly critical. At IBM, we have focused on developing calculators to help you measure this and to understand the costs associated with deploying production Generative AI systems, once they gain widespread adoption among your internal or external customers. Measuring the productivity boost is not straightforward.

I also anticipate that some companies may lay off workers and replace them with AI systems, given the new productivity gains. Let’s hope that this transition is not too disruptive.

Regarding use cases, advancements in AI will revolutionize customer service, supply chain management, and risk assessment. Businesses that quickly adapt to these changes will gain a significant competitive edge.

Advice for Businesses:
Embrace AI, but do so responsibly. Understand the technology, its implications, and its alignment with your business values and objectives. Learn how to create your AI for Business Roadmap here

I'm proud of the progress this year at the intersection of AI and business. I wish you a wonderful 2024! 🍾

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