This article is written with a deep sense of belief and the urge to visualise the impossible in the corporate world. We may see this as impossible today but pushing ourselves with various data points / research will tell us that this day is not far off in the corporate world.

The day of a “MACHINE CEO”. Yes, Indeed I am talking about a company or a business being led/driven by a machine.

Sounds crazy!

Let us look at some of the points below:

  • We are packing so much of AI (Artificial intelligence) into machines every day and creating machines much smarter than us, that this appears to become a reality soon. Machines are designed for industrial robotics immensely well and with service robotics addition, the catalogue will be complete. It’s time to enter the boardroom soon.  We have seen the power of ‘UBER’s’ automated management system and with ‘Speech to Text’ computing abilities, complete dominance like the Apple’s SIRI , it is only reasonable to expect displacement of the highest jobs by machines.
  • Institutionalising knowledge into a machine will be far easier than pumping knowledge into a human successor. Further packing the machine with insights and foresights capabilities will make it an envious leader. The machine CEO will be in an excellent position to give quality outputs to conversation and eventually if you are unable to reason out the machine as a person, the final decision will be from the machine.
  • Every organisation prides itself to state that it is their unique culture which the machine cannot build or take-over. I have a point of view here and i.e. It is now possibly doable to give the machine all the algorithms, codes to deliver day to day conversations and provide decision making capabilities and build enough logic for the machine to disseminate culture across the company. Imagine a boardroom with a Machine CEO dealing with processes, compliances, strategy, industry / competitive information, markets, governance, disclosures etc. This would take board and corporate governance to unimaginable levels of reach. Above all, compliances will be a given. BOTS in boardroom will become a colleague, watchdog, auditor, decision maker, influencer, conscience keeper and more. Think of the multiple roles it can perform.
  • Imagine setting out the goals at the beginning of the appraisal period with the machine CEO where  it would track, move, influence the outcome and take the responsibility of collective C level leadership performance to deliver the promise. As it is not backed with emotion, peer level relations,  it will be purely professional and business like.  In boardrooms, I see a Version-2 of the machine CEO which will be packed with humour too over time as ‘fun’ will become a core value for many workplaces of tomorrow.
  • The machine CEO will be connected across the world through IOT technology and will discharge every single function virtually that a physical CEO would do.
  • The machine CEO will be programmed to handle meetings based on agenda and all unwanted conversations which do not flow into the scheme of things, will be pushed out. It will keep time so diligently that there will be no scope for distraction and focussing on the matter for attention and closure will become core.  The machine CEO is not worried being good and/or pleasantly oriented so automatically it brings in only meaningful conversation from colleagues, which are relevant. We will see the power of decisive information channelized for organisational performance.
  • The machine CEO will enable and participate over TP/VC and audio calls based on schedules.
  • The workplace of tomorrow will have people and machines that will co-exist. I call machines as the Z+ generation in the organisational demographics because of its speed, versatility and adaptability. Dealing with processes, policies, practices and people will be through smart machines.
  • The machine CEO will build its future machine leadership prototypes and succession planning here will have no emotion or loyalty factor. It is a pure capability driven model to see the world of tomorrow through the predictive lens. More predictive building capabilities in the successor BOTS will ensure the right machine is in the run for the top job. People in the leadership roles will need to compete with this extraordinary BOTS for a seat in the table.
  • The machine CEO’s organisation structure will have a mix of people + BOTs which are highly specialised and verticalised to render advise and manage their respective span of control.
  • With exponential algorithm embedded along with NLPs & building a predictive of potential, it is possible to develop the machine CEO with coaching abilities. It will hold the mirror for the rest of the organisation.
  • Dream the workplace of tomorrow where there is no performance management system. The machine will only deal with facts & realities on real time basis.
  • The machine CEO along with the CFO will handle investor / analyst calls and deal with the streets virtually. All statutory / permitted information which needs to go out can be programmed to be delivered. It will also have fire-walls to protect giving away “confidential information”. This is the power of the codes that can be defined and will drive global corporate governance.
  • We have seen the management world evolve from a 121 reporting to dual reporting to matrix or even 3 way hybrid structures. Now with machine coming in, I would imagine company structures will need to factor the machines into the Organisation structure and we may end up having super hybrid structures comprising of people and BOTs. The machine CEO sits at the centre of the Organisation structure and not at the top and will be the biggest disruption of the world of tomorrow.

My dream has begun and I am writing the source code, devising the algorithm, building the leadership a predictive for this machine CEO. It will disrupt the paradigm of belief of having a machine in our hand and instead will create us in the hands of the machine. It sounds crazy, fancy and a fictional today, but bringing my senses of business, HR, digital, innovation and visualising the world of tomorrow, this will be indeed a reality someday.

A machine soon would run an enterprise transparently with no conflict of interest like bias, favouritism, whims & fancies, resistance etc.

DeepMind by Google which defeated the Korean grandmaster Lee Se-Dol in a ‘Go’, a 2500 year old game which is exponentially complex or an IBM Watson which is capable of answering questions in most languages and other developments by Microsoft, Facebook, Salesforce, etc.,  who are all investing in future technologies tell us the pace at which the world is moving.

Time has indeed come and soon we will witness  the “Machine CEO”.

The questions that may loom large are:
a)     Can the machine CEO be fired?
b)     Can the machine CEO be put under trial?
c)     Will the machine CEO relate with people emotionally?

Let us leave some mystery and adventure for the sequel “Machine CEO.2”.

Trust me: The calling is there.. Let us go get it!