As artificial intelligence (AI) weaves itself into the fabric of various industries, the buzz around its capabilities continues to get a lot of attention. Yet, for all its advancements and publicity, AI remains shrouded in myths and exaggerated expectations. It’s crucial for businesses to understand not just what AI can do, but also its limitations to avoid costly missteps and misguided investments.

Understanding AI’s Capabilities

AI is a powerful tool, particularly adept at certain types of tasks. Here are a few areas where businesses report it consistently adds value:

  1. Data Processing and Insights Generation
  • Good Use Case: In financial services, AI excels at analysing vast arrays of consumer data to predict loan default risks with remarkable accuracy. This capability allows banks to tailor their lending criteria dynamically, minimising risks and optimising financial outcomes.
  • Real Example: Consider how AI has revolutionised credit scoring by integrating non-traditional data points such as utility bill payments and social media activity, enhancing the precision of credit assessments.
  1. Automation of Repetitive Tasks
  • Good Use Case: AI-driven systems in manufacturing and retail efficiently manage inventory by tracking stock levels in real-time, predicting demand fluctuations, and automating replenishment orders.
  • Real Example: A leading retail chain in Japan is using generative AI to reduce time required for product planning by up to 90% and time it takes to launch new products from ten to one month
  1. Enhancing Customer Interactions
  • Good Use Case: AI-powered chatbots in customer service can handle a high volume of routine inquiries without human intervention, offering responses instantly at any time of the day. This not only enhances customer satisfaction but also frees up human agents to tackle more complex issues.
  • Real Example: A multinational telecom company deployed generative AI chatbots with the objective of enhancing the customer experience.

Recognising AI’s Limitations

However, AI is not a panacea. It struggles with tasks that require human intuition, ethical judgments, or creative thinking. Here are some examples where AI falls short:

  1. Complex Decision Making
  • Poor Use Case: AI lacks the capability to fully understand or make decisions that involve deep contextual and cultural nuances, such as determining the appropriateness of medical treatment or legal judgments without human oversight.
  • Example: An AI system was used to automate the process of processing healthcare claims, which resulted in several wrongful denials, highlighting the risks of removing human judgment from sensitive decisions.
  1. Creative and Strategic Thinking
  • Poor Use Case: While AI can support the creative process by providing data-driven insights, it cannot originate truly innovative ideas or strategic directions that factor in complex human emotions and market dynamics.
  • Example: AI tools that generate marketing content can assist teams by drafting preliminary materials, but they lack the ability to capture brand essence or create emotionally compelling narratives that resonate on a human level.


AI Opportunities and Challenges across the Organisation

Implementing AI across a large organisation can yield varied results, depending on the function and the specific tasks involved:

Quick Wins

  • Customer Service: AI chatbots for routine inquiry handling.
  • Finance: Fraud detection and automated risk assessments.
  • Human Resources: Screening resumes and automating interview scheduling.

Challenging Areas

  • Research and Development: AI can process information but cannot replace the human creativity essential for innovation.
  • Strategic Decision-Making: Leadership roles require nuanced decision-making that AI cannot replicate.
  • Ethical Considerations: AI applications in areas involving significant ethical decisions need careful oversight to avoid unintended consequences.


To leverage AI effectively, businesses must develop a nuanced understanding of where AI can add value and where it might not be ready to perform autonomously. By investing wisely in AI, companies can enhance efficiency, innovate services, and improve customer engagements while avoiding the pitfalls of over dependence on an evolving technology.