Main Content

AI: Turns Out, We’ve Been Here Before

by Emily McCutcheon

Without a background in AI, are you able to make smart decisions about how to take advantage of this new technology?

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have been making headlines everywhere lately, but as a leader you might think you aren’t personally capable of putting them into play. Without a background in AI, are you able to make smart decisions about how to take advantage of this new technology?

The truth is you don’t need to be a computing expert to start making this technology work for you   —and you don’t have to do it all in one go.  Instead, leaders need only an understanding of what AI is capable of to position their organizations to better handle increased competition, boost employee engagement, and respond to customers faster and more effectively. 


Twenty years ago the internet had just begun to make huge changes to our business landscape. The companies that profited the most from that dramatic shift were the ones who thought deeply about the implications it would have and then built teams to come up with innovative solutions.

Instead of thinking of AI and machine learning as extremely technical fields in which you may not have the requisite experience, think of them as new tools you can leverage. Just as you would with any new tech, ask tough questions based on your existing business challenges and the challenges you think could arise in the near future.

Like the internet, AI can transform the way we interact with our customers and our employees. By focusing on the economics of AI and its implications for your business you’ll be better prepared to decide how to build or buy AI tools, how to develop strategies that make the most of AI, and how to pivot your business strategy so as not to be left behind.


Some of the most successful companies in the world have already been making the most of AI, and once you know what to look for it might seem obvious. When you ask Siri a question, or order a Lyft, or browse the related items at the bottom of an Amazon product page, you’re using AI. What these companies have in common is that each of them thought first about market opportunities and then asked How can AI help solve this?

That’s a great place to start. Your second question should be how can AI reduce costs? The more you can improve customer experience and drive down costs, the stronger your position will be. What might seem less obvious while you’re working on these – admittedly large – questions is that data security needs to be a part of every solution. When you’re building new strategies and tools using AI make absolutely sure that these processes are compliant with all privacy laws governing your business. Your customers have entrusted you with their personal data. It’s up to you to take good care of it.


You don’t need to be able to build AI tools yourself. Instead, you know what questions to ask and why. Rotman offers a new, short program called Artificial Intelligence: An Executive Primer which does not require technical skills. It does not take a computer science perspective on the topic. Rather, it focuses on the economics of AI and the implications for business. You will leave the course with a toolkit for introducing AI into your organization and the knowledge you need to identify AI opportunities.

Executives who are looking to understand how AI will disrupt, augment or change their core business will learn, in a short period of time, how to strategically use this new technology and profit. Speak to our expert Learning Advisor or visit our website for more information.


Questions? We’re here to help

Speak to our expert Learning Advisor about choosing the right program for you or your organization.

Tel: 416.978.8815

Related Program

Artificial Intelligence: 
An Executive Primer


Location: Rotman School of Management, Toronto, Ontario

Participant profile: Senior-level professionals

Fee: TBD