HBR's Must Reads

Book Review: HBRs 10 Must Reads on AI, Analytics and the New Machine Age

Only after I pressed “purchase” button, I have realized that this book has been published back in 2018. Feels like ages ago. But it was really interesting to see what authors’ predictions came to reality and what are still just concepts. Many new cool technologies from 2018 did not cross the chasm.

This was the first HBR’s Must Reads book I finished in my life and there are several pros and cons with such format. First of all, different authors have different writing styles and it is a bit confusing for a reader, especially, because quality of writing varies as well. Second, writers are seemed to be aware of very short attention span of readers and try to pack as many ideas as possible and trim the text. It works, but it leaves a reader with a lot of unpacked thoughts.

Out of ten articles the most interesting ones were “Marketing in the Age of Alexa” , “Collaborative Intelligence” and “When Your Boss Wears Metal Pants”. All these articles provide analysis how humans will collaborate with AI in various workplaces and businesses. While we don’t see such collaboration in full yet, there are clear indications of this trend. The breakthrough will happen at that moment, when AI will be considered part of the team and will be participating in tasks assignments on par with humans. The article “When Your Boss Wears Metal Pants” gives overview of some experiments and researches how humans will behave in such situations. The results were quite surprising for me.

There are a lot of predictions that did not become a reality. For example, we don’t see massive usage of commercial drones, while there is a clear use case for them as a weapon. Marketing organizations did not change their objects from humans to AI Assistances and, overall, AI Assistances are very far from the point where we can delegate to them complex tasks and rely on their decisions to make purchases on humans behalf.

Several articles touched how business is and will use AR and AI/ML (like, Stitch Fix) and it is funny to realize that from a consumer perspective you may not know that a product or a service value was generated for you by Artificial Intelligence. As a technologist, I am aware that infusion of AI/ML capabilities into apps and tech products happening on a massive scale, but it is rarely visible for an end user. So, those predictions from 2018 became true 100%.

Overall, this book is 4 out 5. It has several interesting ideas, but they are worth only if you want to learn what was a trail of thoughts in 2018.

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