How Can AI Be So Powerful, But Fail to Bring Practical Breakthroughs?

Arvell Craig
3 min readJan 4, 2024

A few months ago I was headed to Detroit.

While on the flight over, scrolling through audiobooks, I discovered the 2005 book, “Beyond the Goal” by Eli Goldratt. Goldratt wrote one of best-selling business books of all time “The Goal,” which I’d read maybe 10 year ago. But for some reason this one caught my attention.

After downloading the book and listening… it wasn’t more than 10 minutes before I heard a statement to stopped me in my tracks:

“Technology can only bring benefit if and only if it diminishes limitations.”

Dr. Goldratt continues on and explains:

Before the technology came, we were performing according to certain RULES (standards and processes and modes of behavior) to help us accommodate certain limitations…

An example was given of MRP or ERP computer software back in the 80s.

Before MRP, running reports could many days or weeks so it was done only once a month. But when MRP came and it only took hours or minutes, the rules were still set to run reports monthly.

This technology, which was possibly 1000x faster than previous systems was never fully realized until the rules changed.

When I read that, I instantly began thinking about AI adoption and transformation. I realized we are experiencing the exact same situation with generative AI. Or mabye not the exact same, but something much more powerful. But because we don’t fully understand rules need to change, we act like it’s just a friendly Google, a conversational Wikipedia, or a more intelligent Siri.

Six Questions to Find Your Breakthrough

Since then til now, I’ve been developing processes to help people find breakthrough use cases with AI. From a big picture, people either want to increase sales, or decrease costs. But technically, I know many just want personal freedom… to stop doing things they hate or things that waste their time but are necessary.

But AI is so broad and vast.

It hard to pinpoint where to stare. One major key I learned was that the focus needs to start INTERNLLY, not on AI.

People need to get better and diagnosing their own constraints and limitations, before they bring AI into the picture.

Using AI to write words when you writing is not a major issue is a waste of time. So here are the first 6 questions you should think about when looking for your AI breakthrough…

  1. Are you working to use AI on something you’ve never done?
  2. Are you working to use AI on something you don’t like doing?
  3. Are you working to use AI on something you’ve LOVE to do?

Next, ask three questions about how your process is typically done…

4. Do you have a process already for this task?

5. Do you have a person on your team who typically does or oversees this?

6. Do you have consistent success with this task?

Based on these answers we can begin looking for a finding out where the person or company should start investigating adding AI to the workflow. The goal is finding a task that already have a process, already is successful, and then we decide where, when, and how the human and AI need to work together to scale the performace.

NOTE: We don’t look for instant magic. But we look for an iterative step by step, week by week process to continually replace more and more processes with AI.

Over time there are 2–3 compound effects.

  1. The person who used to do the process finds their time and mind opening up in new ways. This allows for higher level focus on bigger problems
  2. The business process becomes faster, consistent, and optimized with greater quality. The implications on the audience or customer isn’t always seen, but subtley I find more trust is gained.
  3. There are always unseen effects. Unplanned opportunity or obstacles that will need to be tackled. But if you are committed to the process the end results are always greater for the who organization.

Learn This Simple Process…

If you are interested in a free workshop on applying this process of use case discovery, please register for one of my workshops. REPLACE ONE TASK WITH AI PER WEEK

Create a Great Day!
ARVL

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Arvell Craig

As AI invades every area of society, I'm choosing to positively and proactively learn, leverage, and integrate it for personal and professional growth.