Peak CEO Richard Potter: Time to Educate Executives on AI

For years, artificial intelligence projects have failed to deliver expected results for many companies, possibly due to data scientists misunderstanding the business problems the technology is intended to solve. Richard Potter, Chief Executive Officer of Peak, thinks the issue is a disconnect between engineers and executives created by overly high expectations of capabilities and misunderstanding of limitations.

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Founded in 2015 by Potter (along with David Leitch and Atul Sharma), Peak is a decision intelligence software company based in Manchester, England, which has raised $119 million in capital. The CEO sees a fundamental misunderstanding of AI technology on the part of many executives who don’t know how it works, or what shortcomings it has. Overestimations of AI’s capabilities can create a rift between the engineers behind the technology and the business professionals who think it can solve everything.

Potter’s solution for the disconnect begins with education. Perhaps it’s time that MBA programs include AI in their syllabi, for example. However, he also thinks that companies like Peak have a responsibility to educate while helping businesses run AI systems. Although most executives will never have an engineer-level education on AI, a basic understanding enhances communications between the two fields.