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Purposefully Led Responsible AI Achieves Long-Term Prosperity - Bonar Institute for Purposeful Leadership

John Barker | September 14, 2023 

The Bonar Institute for Purposeful Leadership promotes this proposition: “Purposeful leadership is an ethical choice that principled leaders make to achieve something greater than themselves and the companies they lead.”

Responsible AI, sometimes referred to as “Trustworthy AI,” and even “Explainable AI,” focuses on implementing AI technologies using several principles that map to principles of purposeful leadership: accountability, fairness, privacy, reliability, safety, and transparency.

Purposefully led companies will generate bigger and more sustainable rewards by implementing AI purposefully and responsibly.  For this reason, the Institute is announcing a four-model program that empowers leadership to actualize long-term prosperity.

 Purposeful leaders are better prepared to succeed in a VUCA business environment: Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. Generative Artificial Intelligence (Generative AI) poses high rewards with huge risks – more than “traditional” Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

Generative AI represents a leap forward in both risk and reward over “traditional” AI. It exacerbates all VUCA factors. In brief, businesses applied traditional AI, dating from the 1950s, mainly for process automation and efficiency.

This focus on process automation, usually to reduce costs, kept businesses in what the venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz, characterized as the “AI Mediocrity Spiral.”

Generative AI will enable businesses to create new businesses, disrupt old ones, and even at least temporarily create a sustainable competitive advantage

In essence, an optimization focus did not create sustainable competitive advantages, or disruptive innovation, over the long term.

Reinforcement Learning with Human Feedback (RLHF) enabled Generative AI to leap rapidly over traditional AI. Andreessen Horowitz noted that this leap forward enables escaping the AI Mediocrity Spiral.

Instead of only automating processes and increasing efficiencies, Generative AI will enable businesses to create new businesses, disrupt old ones, and even at least temporarily create a sustainable competitive advantage.

For many businesses, Generative AI is existential, as customers, competitors, and emerging players leverage Generative AI to create product and service substitutes.

Generative AI also affects a greater number of stakeholders with a greater impact, than traditional AI.  Think huge numbers of jobs created with others eliminated.  Business leaders are already experiencing Generative AI’s exacerbation of VUCA attributes, selected examples of which are:

  • Volatility. Volatile geopolitical developments that affect long-term AI success include wars and disputes about trade, control over territories, and cultural differences about the use of AI and data privacy. 
  •  Uncertainty. Existing laws and regulations and confusion about future legal and regulatory efforts for AI create legal and regulatory uncertainty.  A product that seems “legal” today might lead to legal liability in litigation or regulatory action.
  •  Complexity. Rapidly evolving “traditional” AI technologies and the “new” Generative AI are evolving more rapidly than unexpected.  Their rapid evolutions intersect with other rapidly evolving technologies (robotics, sensors, and the batteries that power them). These technological advances intersect with the volatile geopolitical environment.
  •  Ambiguity. Laws are ambiguous.  Competitive advantages are ambiguous. Even Generative AI poses ambiguity issues because it is in continual evolution.

Contact the Bonar Institute for Purposeful Leadership to discuss your purposeful leadership needs on your journey to purposefully leading AI & Generative AI initiatives in your business at

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