To CAIO, or Not to CAIO? That is the Question

In an article titled Chief AI Officer - 7 Reasons Why YourCompany Needs One by William Falcon, three reasons really stand out. With Reason 2, William points out how strong academic links result in partnerships with labs that can help your enterprise tackle hard business problems. Reason 4 might be the strongest reason of all; a CAIO with good business sense can show you when and where AI won’t work within the enterprise. And Reason 6 signals your enterprise takes AI seriously. With AI an afterthought in a lot of industries, instituting the CAIO increases your reputation, signals to investors, and helps you attract top AI talent.

Another article, Please Don’t Hire a Chief ArtificialIntelligence Officer by Kristian Hammond, regards the CAIO as completely unnecessary. Kristian believes the AI market has already matured, and those who were serious about AI already have a team in place. And those companies aren’t only employing AI, they’ve made it part of their core intellectual property. He compares the drive for CAIOs to the Data Scientist fad and the requisite CDO. One of his key argument bears keeping in mind: The nature of the role is bringing the hammer of AI to whatever nails are lying around. Kristian envisions well-educated, well-paid, highly motivated individuals in the enterprise looking for places to apply AI rather than using it to solve real problems.

Whether to CAIO or not, leaders should keep three things in mind:

  1. AI is here to stay.
  2. Your vision and brand will determine the AI talent you attract.
  3. If your plan is to be a ‘fast follower’, it may already be too late.

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