Why I do, what I do: Navigating the promise and perils of AI for SMEs

Simon Squibb delves deep into the issue of AI and says society will need to adopt a whole new wardrobe of attitudes towards business ethics and community values

Navigating the promise and perils of AI for SMEs

Many in the entrepreneurial community know what I do, but it’s the ‘why’ behind my actions that really fuels my journey. My mission is to help everyone receive the help and support they need to grow their businesses – especially as we face the tidal wave of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

I see the rise of AI as a double-edged sword. Yes, it promises unprecedented efficiency and the potential to unlock markets we never imagined. Its potential is huge.

But it also threatens to eclipse the need for human talent and endeavour. It will render those who are unable to adapt to this new technology as ‘unemployable’. This is not a future I endorse, nor one that we should passively accept.

For SMEs, this isn’t a doomsday scenario. However, we do need to face the future with our eyes completely open. We can’t and must not sleep walk into a future dominated, or even controlled, by AI. It’s time for some real honest, introspection and an understanding of the ‘why’ of your business.

It’s about recognising your core values and adapting them to the contours of an ever-changing technological landscape. In an ideal world, purpose goes beyond profit. It’s all about the intrinsic value you provide, amid the shifting sands of industry, employment and consumer needs. 

It’s about forging a path that allows your business to not just coexist with AI but to thrive and redefine success in its context. From my perspective, adaptability is non-negotiable. It’s imperative for SMEs to cultivate a mindset of perpetual evolution. It’s not enough to know your market. You must be fluent in the language of technological change. 

You must also be willing to reinvent your business models and reskill your workforce. You need to turn disruption into opportunity. And there’s an optimistic side that I regularly lean on – the potential for AI to democratise wealth. 

If we play our cards right, we could use this technology to level the business playing field, by offering tools and resources previously monopolised by corporate giants. I have a vision of the future where AI doesn’t replace humans but amplifies our capabilities and opportunities.

But this future isn’t about self-actualising. It hinges on education. I firmly believe that SMEs need to educate their teams, while embracing a culture of ongoing learning to ensure we all evolve in tandem with technological trends. The goal should be ‘No one gets left behind’.

So, here’s the crux of my message: The future is hurtling towards us, rich with technological advancements. For SMEs, survival isn’t about resistance. It’s about embracing change. It’s about understanding the ‘why’ behind our ventures and then steering them with clarity and vision through the challenges of the future. 

Let’s ensure we have a future where technology serves humanity, and we all move forward together. We must not wait any longer to seize the vast opportunities that this new era presents.

Simon Squibb
Simon Squibb

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