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Do you need a Chief AI Officer? [AI Today Podcast]


What is a Chief AI Officer (CAIO)?

There has been a lot of talk lately, including a new executive order in the US, about the need for a Chief AI Officer. But, what is this role? And, is it really needed? We wanted to spend some time in today’s podcast revisiting a topic we first wrote about in 2019.

 Whenever there’s a new major trend in IT, there’s a desire to signal to the world just how serious your organization is about that trend. AI is the hottest trend in technology in the past decade, so everyone wants to show how committed they are to it. 

However, building AI products is hard and takes time. Delivering AI value takes not only technology investment but also requires people and process changes. These are difficult things. 

What’s easier than building things and delivering value? Giving people new and exciting titles. And also potentially declaring yourself “AI first” as an organization. I mean who wouldn’t take a company seriously when they have a new C-level that has”AI” in their actual title on their actual business card and LinkedIn profile? They must be serious, right?

Why every company needs a chief AI officer?

The CAIO Role and Title is Nonsense. In this podcast we discuss why the idea or necessity of a CAIO as a role or title is nonsense.

No trend could have been bigger than the Internet and Web in the 1990s. Where is the Chief Internet Officer? What happened to the Chief Web Officer? 

Mobile was the biggest movement to happen in the 2000s. Where is the Chief Mobile Officer? 

Social media is everywhere. Where is the Chief Social Media Officer?

So, does it really make sense to have a CAIO? 

What is the role of the chief AI officer?

What is the CAIO actually in charge of? Why would a CAIO have some ownership or responsibility separate from the CIO and CDO? Will the CAIO be the one to take the blame when AI systems go rogue and cause problems across the whole framework of Trustworthy AI? These are all great questions that we address in this podcast.

It’s What You Do, Not What you Call it

The reality is that organizations don’t need a CAIO to show they are serious about AI. They don’t need a CAIO to guide the direction or development of AI. They don’t need a CAIO to shoulder the blame or burden of Trustworthy AI. If you’re looking to be serious about AI, don’t just make meaningless motions. Make meaningful change and dedicate to implementing AI in a real way. Invest in a Trustworthy AI framework instead of a meaningless CAIO title.

Show Notes:

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