Expert Coaching. Practical Resources.

June 13, 2024

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Richard Stringham

Could AI be Your Board’s New Dad?

Having watched the frustration my father experienced teaching my older brothers to drive (one drove the car through the front end of the car port), I decided that driving lessons with a certified driving instructor might save my Dad from an early coronary. It turned out to be wise choice.

My friend, who opted not to do so, learned from his Dad. My friend failed the test his first time. His father had taught my friend all his father knew. And some of what he knew wasn’t correct .

When my daughter was learning to drive, I made sure that she did so with a certified instructor. In addition, she needed some practice time outside of the lessons. That honour landed with both my wife and me. If I had to take a driver’s test today, I’m not sure I could pass. So, I advised my daughter that her instructor’s instructions trumped mine. My ego doesn’t take priority over her or her passenger’s safety!

As a result, I learned that things had changed. When I learned to drive, the wisdom of the day said to place your hands at 10:00 and 2:00 o’clock positions. My daughter relayed the current wisdom: because of the risk of injury to arms from airbags, it is now best to go with 9:00 and 3:00 o’clock positions.

I’ve seen similar situations when boards have board members who have governance experience. If you  view them as your Dad teaching you to drive, they can be a valuable source of experience. On the other hand, governance expertise is something else. The two shouldn’t be confused.

And here’s where AI enters the scene. A colleague of mine, highly proficient in Policy Governance, asked ChatGPT for advice about monitoring when using Policy Governance. Her assessment was that ChatGPT got it about 75% right. At that rate, I hope that my surgeon doesn’t use Chat GPT to diagnose and treat me!

By the way ChatGPT wasn’t able to cite its sources.

At this point in time, I hope that most of us recognize that Chat GPT is not without its flaws. In essence, it is learning to drive from Dad. If people, board members in this case, can make the distinction between experience that AI shares and expertise, it will save much grief.

What concerns me is that AI, not just ChatGPT, will become difficult to discern from other information. AI will become, or perhaps already is, pervasive in our lives. Our team members are already using AI to assist in preparation of articles and reports. Who knows what AI applications we’ll use in the future?

Nonetheless, at The Governance Coach, we are committed to ensuring that the information we provide, be it here in our blogs, or elsewhere in publications, presentations, reports, etc., is true to solid principles of effective governance.

That is our commitment to you. If ever it changes, we’ll let you know!

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