As companies increasingly explore the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) in their businesses, it’s important for product managers to consider the risks and benefits of incorporating AI. AI can be a powerful tool, but it’s essential to use it wisely and judiciously to avoid unintended consequences.
To guide product managers in their use of AI, there’s a simple principle that can be applied:
This principle applies to all forms of AI, whether it’s language models like ChatGPT or other types of machine learning. In fact, this principle is analogous to the use of other powerful tools like ‘git rebase’… or a chainsaw.
All three of these tools have the potential to cause significant damage if not used with care and precision. Just as a chainsaw can quickly turn a small task into a disaster, AI can create unintended consequences that are difficult to predict and even harder to fix. It’s crucial to ask yourself if there is a simpler, safer tool that can accomplish the same task before reaching for a powerful tool like AI.
Of course, it’s important to learn and practice using powerful tools like AI, but it’s equally important to do so in a safe environment. When it comes to your core business or production code, it’s essential to use the right tool for the job. Don’t be tempted to pick up a chainsaw when a pocket knife will do.
To illustrate the principle of just enough, consider the example of a product manager working on an e-commerce website. The manager might be considering the use of AI to personalize the shopping experience for each customer. While this is a powerful use of AI, it’s important to consider whether it’s really necessary. In some cases, a simpler tool like rule-based personalization might be just as effective without the potential risks and complexities of AI.
Product managers should approach the use of AI with caution and consideration. By applying the principle of just enough, product managers can ensure they’re using AI wisely and judiciously, without creating unintended consequences that could harm their businesses.