60% of AI projects (and digital transformation) fail and/or go undeployed. Yet, 88% of c-suite leaders report that their companies plan to boost AI investment this year. However, only 17% of executives say are well versed in the core concepts of AI and its applications at their companies. I have argued over the years that this is because companies aren’t putting AI experts into leadership or co-leadership roles. People often come back to me and ask: “What does an AI leader look like?” Based on my own personal experience here is what s/he must have at as a baseline:
AI is equal parts science and art and those that are leaders in the field exemplify the qualities associated with both. Most of the great AI leaders I have known over the years are able to straddle both the business and technical worlds and act as a bridge, translator and evangelist between the two. They have experience commercializing AI products or deploying AI projects in the enterprise. They are respected in the AI community. They are hyper curious.
Many of the best AI scientists and leaders I have known over the years have a combination of degrees that blend computer science with social sciences. After all, developing AI is a field that is striving to create “intelligence” which means thinking through the nature of intelligence, states of being, social interactions, etc.
A PhD in Artificial Intelligence is critical.
Masters and Undergraduate: One in computer science or math and one in another field such as philosophy, physics, social science, etc.
Real world experience turning R&D into commercially released products and/or successful deployed projects in the enterprise. This is difficult and proven success here is critical.
10+ years of leadership experience
Proven experience recruiting and attracting other experts in the AI space
Community recognition and Patents
Speaking engagements: Mandatory
If you are looking for a Chief AI Officer (or whatever you are going to call the leadership role in your organization) and their resume doesn’t have the above then you are hiring the wrong person.