Alliance Manchester Business School - AMBS
Article By
Fiona Devine

Fiona Devine

Vice-President and Dean of Faculty of Humanities and Professor of Sociology at Alliance Manchester Business School

A Turning Point

The potential of AI to transform business is beginning to be fully understood.

We devote much of this issue to the extraordinary growth in the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how its potential to transform business is only now really beginning to be fully understood.

AI is here to stay, and its use will only accelerate. So, for most organisations pausing or putting on hold AI projects is simply not a feasible option if they wish to remain competitive. While there is a lot of nervousness about, it is humans that will determine how AI is used and, indeed, be a force for good in business and society.

New technologies

There are many issues to consider with the rapid rise of AI. Professor Michelle Carter considers how, as humans, we are still at the stage of internalising new technologies and hardwiring them into our behaviours. She also talks about how the rapid growth of technologies that use AI is already impacting on live debates over personal privacy.

AI brings with it considerable ethical challenges. As the use of AI soars, organisations need to ensure it is explainable, transparent and responsible. According to Professor Erik Beulen, as firms implement AI strategies they must have a strong focus on building trust based on ethical principles and on implementing explainable and transparent algorithms.

What is clear is that although the benefits of AI are huge and exciting, there do remain deep questions that remain unanswered. For instance, how exactly are employees interacting with AI algorithms today? What decisions are being made using AI and how are those decisions made? How exactly should the risks of AI in areas such as privacy, competition and ethics be addressed?

As firms implement AI strategies they must also have a strong focus on building trust based on ethical principles and on implementing explainable and transparent algorithms

Real world insight

The University of Manchester is certainly a place where these debates are being researched on a huge scale. As AMBS Professor Richard Allmendinger explains, up to 1,700 researchers are currently working across 30 disciplines in the digital space alone. That is an incredible cluster.

Here at AMBS, our academics, many of whom are also members of the Alan Turing Institute, have actually been looking at the world of AI for many years, long before the subject ever became fashionable.

What is truly exciting today is how academic knowledge around AI is increasingly being sought after by the business community. It is precisely why 'Data and AI for Leaders' is just one of a number of new short business courses (open programmes) in executive education that we launched this spring.

Each of these courses have been curated and developed from the ground up by our academic leads and the delivery team to address the growing need for programmes that bridge world-class research insight with real-world business application.

In today’s climate where development and investment in personal development is incredibly pertinent, our new suite of programmes represents a dynamic addition to our portfolio. We are very proud to be contributing to the lifelong learning agenda.

Featured course

Data and AI for Leaders

Discover how data and AI can drive your business decision-making and keep you future-fit.

View course details

Moving on

Finally, this is my last issue as Head of AMBS. I feel incredibly privileged to have run the School for a decade. I am now moving to a new position as Vice President and Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at The University of Manchester. 

I am truly delighted that I will be handing over this summer to Professor Ken McPhail, a previous Deputy Head of School and a former Director of Research here at AMBS.

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