AI innovator highlights power and pitfalls of game-changing tech that will transform the world of work

Didem Ün Ateş, chief executive of LotusAI, during her keynote address at the Global Leadership Forum Summit in Geneva on 25 April 2024.

Leadership around AI can be the catalyst in a transformative journey that will change the way companies work.

AI expert and innovator Didem Ün Ateş, chief executive of LotusAI Ltd, held the delegates’ attention with her keynote address at FIDIC’s 2024 Global Leadership Forum Summit when it met in Geneva on 25-26 April 2024.

In a wide-ranging address at the second annual summit, organised by the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC), Ün Ateş offered an overview of how AI has developed over a number of years and how it is being applied globally across multiple sectors. Her presentation, When Minds meet Machines – The power and pitfalls of AI, explained the different types of AI, its application and what it all means for organisations and leaders.

“We now have the capacity to make a 24/7 transformation with generative AI across the value chain,” said Ün Ateş, who also highlighted the implications for the workforce. “With generative AI added to the picture, 30% of hours worked today could be automated by 2030,” she said, making the point that this would inevitably lead to shifting roles through automation and augmentation of existing work patterns and tasks.

Ün Ateş did not shy away from highlighting the potential risks from AI, which she said included unintended consequences, reputational damage, potential liability, operational issues and customer or partner friction. Notwithstanding these challenges, she said that all firms needed to have a strategy for AI and how they were implementing it.

She said that AI would enable the firms of the future to run smarter and that there would be increased performance expectations per worker in terms of reach or impact. “Only those who can work effectively with AI will remain competitive,” said Ün Ateş but AI would also help in the attraction of talent in hyperspecialised markets, thereby opening some new markets that can now be served profitably.

A series of workshops held at the summit also highlighted the importance of cultural shift and leadership in AI adoption. The debates amongst those infrastructure leaders present underscored the urgency for a cultural metamorphosis, signalling the dawn of a new era where AI assimilation becomes synonymous with organisational ethos. Leadership, the summit attendees heard, is the catalyst in this transformative journey.

Ün Ateş mirrored this sentiment, underlining the necessity for leaders to foster a culture where innovation thrives alongside a strong ethical compass, advocating for a responsible stewardship of AI tools.