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Corporate America is About to Change Forever

By Pierson Marks

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We're about to see the most significant shift in corporate America in history, and every single business will need to adapt, or it will die.

And yes, it is because of AI. But not in the way most people are thinking about it.

Intelligent Software Today

Artificial intelligence has already been integrated into almost every commercially available piece of software. And if it's not there yet, I guarantee it's coming very soon.

AI supercharges what employees and customers can do, enabling everyone to work and interact with software more efficiently and produce higher-quality outputs without any incremental effort.

Every problem that software already solves today with a traditional approach (i.e. knowledge retrieval via search, text autocompletion, translation, etc.) will be supercharged with AI. Answers are better, tools are easier to use, communication in different languages can happen in real time, and so much more.

These advancements are happening right in front of us, and it's truly amazing.

But AI hasn't yet changed what type of problems we're solving.

So far, most improvements from AI areĀ linearĀ advancements to existing solutions, even if the underpinning technology is exponentially better. They're still game-changing and feel magical, but the problem set has stayed the same. The technology has yet to realize its full potential.

Every technological revolution or paradigm shift in human history follows a similar pattern. It goes as follows:

  1. A technological breakthrough happens. Examples: the steam engine, electricity, or computers.

  2. The new technology is integrated to improve existing solutions. Examples: transport cargo via trains, cars replacing horse-drawn carriages, communication via phone calls (or email), etc.

  3. The advanced technology is used to approach novel problems, discovering a new set of things that can now be solved. Examples: the jet engine/airplanes, global shipping & 2-day delivery, video calls with 50+ people, etc.

AI will follow this pattern.Ā And we're in phase 2.

A New Set of Problems

AI enables humanity to solve a new set of classically "hard" problems that were never achievable with traditional software approaches. The problems in this set are highly complex and were previously only attainable by having humans work on them. And humans are expensive.

So, you might be wondering, "Cool, this makes sense. But how do we get from phase 2 to phase 3? And how does this relate to the corporate world?"

Two words:Ā AI Agents.

AI Agents

If you don't know what AI agents are, essentially, they are autonomous, self-correcting pieces of software that, when given a high-level goal (e.g., "Create a PowerPoint that compares all teams in the NFL"), can go out by themselves and work towards that goal, until it decides the goal has been satisfied.

They iteratively correct themselves, using chain-of-thought reasoning and reflection, and can leverage existing software tools to achieve that goal (i.e. searching the internet, using PowerPoint, etc.).

But the real power comes from creating a group of highly-coordinated agents, each specialized in a specific field, just like a team in a business. You have a project manager agent specializing in task distribution, a software engineer agent who excels at writing code, and a finance agent who creates financial models.

When a manager agent receives a task or goal, they break the task into subtasks and distribute each to the agent who can best complete that task. The team works on all their tasks, constantly communicating until the main goal is satisfied. Then, the manager presents the final output, which you review for completeness.

Redefining Business Operations

You might know where I'm headed with this. But agents will completely change how businesses operate.

For decades, corporations hired entry-level employees as the smallest unit of labor who can produce meaningful output. From there, the corporation grows upwards, with layers of management, each with broader goals and higher-level incentives.

But now, businesses can expand downwards. Entry-level employees will be expected to leverage the creation and coordination of a team of AI agents to help perform their work. Every employee becomes a manager, deciding what tasks your team of agents will work on, reviewing their outputs, providing feedback, and ultimately, creating new agents, essentially hiring new employees for your team.

Unlike what the pessimists may tell you, white-collar labor will not be eliminated. However, the responsibilities of knowledge workers will drastically change.

And the best employees will be the generalists. The entrepreneurial-minded ones. The ones who understand how to communicate objectives, how to design efficient processes, and, ultimately, how to build an A+ team.

Businesses that empower these people to learn, build, and manage their own team of agents will produce more value than anything we ever thought was possible.

The world we're about to create is extremely exciting, and I cannot wait to see what humanity achieves in the coming decades.