I was promised a pink pony.
The Path to AI's True Potential Lies Through the Trough of Disillusionment
Welcome to FullStack HR, where we talk about the future of HR.
If you haven’t subscribed, join the 5000+ smart, curious HR folks by subscribing here:
Vacation is now a distant memory, and the fall is in if not full swing, then it’s at least here. My fall is jam-packed with upcoming interesting stuff; I’m heading to HR Tech in Vegas to speak about AI and to Unleash in Paris to host the AI stage, to mention a few things that are happening.
But there could be more stuff happening, and I need your help. 👇🏻
Beyond all of that, I’ll continue to write here. And I’ll continue to unpack the ins and outs of the tech trends in HR. My guess is that there will be a lot of AI on FullStack HR during the fall…or will it? That’s the topic for today.
Let’s dive in.
If you’ve been reading FullStack HR, you know that I like the Gartner hype cycle.
Yes, I know it has flaws, and it’s not 100% scientific and accurate, but I like it as the backbone of describing trends and making sense of hypes.
Here's what it looks like for those of you who have never heard of the Gartner hype cycle or for people like me who need a refresher after a long summer break.
The Gartner hype cycle represents a technology's life cycle stages from conception to maturity and widespread adoption.
Initially, when a new technology is introduced, there's a surge of excitement and high expectations. But soon after, disappointment sets in as it might not deliver as promised.
Over time, as the kinks are worked out and people understand its actual uses and benefits, the technology stabilizes and becomes a trusted tool in the mainstream.
Some people think differently about it, but I tend to think this captures the hype pretty well.
The pink pony
So why am I bringing up the Gartner hype cycle in a newsletter about HR?
Because it appears that we're standing on the top of the mountain regarding Generative AI. The peak. Even Gartner themselves acknowledge this.
And slowly, I anticipate that the excitement, the sheer thrill that once surrounded Generative AI and HR will slowly wane into a collective sigh: "Now what?"
We’ve been promised a dazzling pink pony, but all we got was a delusional ChatGPT version.
But let's hit the pause button before we shrug our shoulders in frustration. Because The Trough of Disillusionment is not a dead-end but an opportunity to dive deeper, persevere, be resilient, and continue learning.
For on the horizon is where the real adventure begins - the Slope of Enlightenment and, ultimately, the Plateau of Productivity.
But to reach the next peak, we must tap into what makes us human (which is a bit ironic given all the talk about how AI will replace us…) - our ability to adapt, experiment, learn, and fail.
We dust ourselves off and repeat the cycle. The pathway up the Slope of Enlightenment is paved with fragments of our failed attempts, our debunked hypotheses, and the vestiges of our spent ideas.
However, these failures led us to the sought-after Plateau of Productivity.
We must embody the tortoise's tenacity in this race, not the hare's overconfidence.
It's a time for exploration, innovation, and dogged persistence.
Once we understand things better during the Slope of Enlightenment, we're not just excited by new technology. Instead, we deeply understand its capabilities, potential, and limitations.
This understanding is where companies can begin to gain benefits and exploit the technology. Those reaching the Slope of Enlightenment first, those persisting, learning, and experimenting, will be the ones reaping the greatest rewards.
The e-commerce pioneers in the early days of the internet faced doubts about whether people would buy products online. Despite the naysayers, they built user-friendly sites, secure payment systems, and fast delivery logistics. Their perseverance allowed online shopping to flourish into a multi-trillion-dollar industry.
Similarly, today's pioneers in Generative AI face skepticism about its business applicability. But early use cases like automated content creation and chatbots already save costs and enhance productivity. With continued persistence in innovating commercial AI applications, there is vast untapped potential, just as the e-commerce pioneers unlocked the value of online shopping.
And I get it; the "now what" sentiment is understandable.
But let's turn it from a sigh of resignation into a question of curiosity. Instead of marking the end, let it pave the way for new beginnings. Disillusionment is merely a stepping stone, not the final destination.
So where can you find more inspiration and learn more?
I hope this is one place, but there are also several other outlets I think you should utilize to keep engaged with the topic.
HBR has a great series that covers Generative AI and the future of work.
Recruiters AI digest is also a great overview of what’s happening in the AI / Recruitment space.
Ben’s Bites gives you daily bite-sized updates about the stuff happening within AI (not only HR, but that’s the beauty of it.)
The future belongs to the resilient, those who take the blows and keep advancing. To those who, amid disillusionment, choose hope and curiosity. To those who kindle the flames of innovation amidst the rubble of their failed experiments.
So, to all HR and AI enthusiasts, don't stop.
Keep failing, keep learning, and keep experimenting.
Your pink pony might just be lurking around the bend.