* This is a contributed article. The IBTimes news staff was not involved in the creation of this article and this content does not necessarily represent the views of IBTimes. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Here are our T&C. For licensing please click here.

Over the past couple of years, artificial intelligence, particularly generative AI such as large language models has entered the public consciousness, and its impressive capabilities are now on display for everyone to see. This has created something known as AI anxiety, with people fearing that AI will make people redundant and cause them to lose their jobs.

While technology has always substituted for human efforts, such as the wheel making it easier to move heavy loads, generative AI has apparently infringed on the "creative" domains, such as language and visual arts, which have previously been thought to be exclusively human. On the surface, AI can now draw a picture or write entire articles of text based on prompts of just a few words. This may lead people to think that writers and visual artists are no longer needed. It also may mislead some people to think that AI displays some level of sentience or human-like emotion, however, AI's "creativity" is but an illusion, as AI is merely a "stochastic parrot".

"Millions of people around the world were amazed at the capabilities of AI," says AI and business strategist Elin Hauge. "Because it was something they didn't understand, they saw it as something alien or divine – therefore scary – and that it is going to take over the world.

Elin Hauge, Professional speaker and AI & business strategist
Elin Hauge, Professional speaker and AI & business strategist Photo by Kristoffer Sandven

According to Hauge, it's her goal to demystify AI and educate individuals and businesses about what it is truly capable and incapable of doing. Artificial intelligence operates on probability, and AI programs apply mathematics and statistics to large amounts of data, including language. While extremely powerful, AI is just a tool, and how it is used and how it will affect people rests on the decision-makers for businesses and governments – and these are the people that Hauge aims to reach. She speaks on AI internationally, especially in Europe, and she is working to expand her reach to the North and Latin American markets. In her home country of Norway, she is involved in various organizations' boards, contributing to AI strategy and processes at the board and C-suite levels. By helping leaders gain a thorough understanding of AI, their organizations will be able to effectively explore opportunities and overcome challenges.

"My role is to help leaders understand that AI is here to stay," Hauge says. "It's not going away because it's the natural next step of big data and digital transformation that everyone's been working on for decades. We call it artificial intelligence, but in reality, it's just mathematics and statistics applied to large amounts of data. I aim to help leaders navigate the novelty and complexity of AI by stripping away the hype and the fluff and taking it down to a pragmatic level. Thus, leaders won't see it as either an enemy or a silver bullet to all their problems, but rather as a valuable toolbox that needs to be used properly to yield significant benefit."

Hauge has a strong academic background in mathematics and physics, including a Master of Engineering in Biophysics and Medical Technology and a Master of Science in Management Science and Operational Research. She also has broad business experience, including more than a decade in the insurance industry. Combined, these provide a rock-solid foundation for her perspectives on the revolutionary opportunities and complex challenges surrounding artificial intelligence. She is also currently studying law, to gain a greater understanding of how AI applications and other emerging technologies impact legal regulations and vice versa.

While the general public exhibited both awe and fear of AI in 2023, Hauge predicts that in 2024 and the coming years, there will be a cooldown of the hype, as people gain a more objective and nuanced understanding of AI and an alignment between humans and intelligent machines is achieved. People will also realize that they may have overestimated the impact of AI on job loss. However, Hauge also sees the huge need for business leaders to thoroughly comprehend the nature of AI and its effects on their businesses and organizations.

"The incoming AI regulations for the European Union may become a headache for members of boards and the C-suite," she says. "With GDPR, executives just needed to sign some documentation and outsource the work to their company's compliance officers. They can't do that with AI, because AI is so integrated with their business model and strategy, that it is impossible to outsource. I believe that any board member or C-suite executive that doesn't have a basic understanding of what AI is and what it can do should step down."

If a leader doesn't understand what the opportunities are, then they will only destroy value for their shareholders. Furthermore, with European AI regulations incoming, compliance is paramount, with fines for violations amounting to up to 7% of the total annual turnover, which will be a huge loss to the business.

"The concept that AI is an application of mathematics and statistics to language is difficult for people to grasp because language is closely related to one's identity, personality, and emotions. It seems incredibly counter-intuitive to them," Hauge says. "I believe this is where most of the fear of AI comes from because fear is a natural consequence of not understanding. I often tell my audiences that many challenges with AI, such as prejudice, discrimination, and exclusion, are not because of the technology itself. They are just the outcomes of human behavior and decision-making, documented in the data that we feed to the algorithms. So, when those algorithms fail, we need to have a look in the mirror to see what we did wrong. This allows us to become better versions of humans."