I wish I had been a fly on the wall when the editors of Fortune’s former sibling Time made their decision about “Person of the Year” for 2023. As the father of two daughters who came of age with Taylor Swift, I have followed her career and music with admiration and awe—even if not a Swiftie myself. The way she has handled her career and her life is worthy of praise, and her record-breaking tour is one for the ages.
But history will remember 2023 as the year of AI. The technology’s potential was evident long before this, of course. But the release of ChatGPT dramatically changed public perception. Before November 2022, AI was caught between a near-term reality of powerful algorithms that could crunch massive amounts of data to recognize patterns and make predictions, and a long-term fiction of machines that might challenge humans in intelligence. ChatGPT and other large language models brought those two visions crashing together, creating tools that could converse with humans in ways that obliterated any Turing test.
The editors of Time punted, giving the top title to Taylor but creating a new “CEO of the Year” award for OpenAI’s Sam Altman. That’s understandable, but wrong. I mentioned last week the amazing demonstration that architect Keith Griffiths gave at Brainstorm Design conference in Macau. What I didn’t mention was an equally amazing poem, written in the style of Dr. Seuss, that Franklin Templeton CEO Jenny Johnson created on the spot to summarize a table conversation at our CEO dinner in Dubai on the eve of COP28 the prior week. These sorts of tricks have already become part of our lives, and will change how we do business for decades to come.
That’s why, while I am weary of travel, I’m happy to be in San Francisco this morning for our Brainstorm AI conference, held in association with Accenture. It was here, a year ago, that my eyes were first opened to the power of generative AI. In the next few days, I hope to gain a better sense of where it goes from here. You can follow on fortune.com, and I’ll be reporting more over the next two days.
And an early tip: fans of CEO Daily will want to sign up now for CEO Weekly Asia, which will debut in January and be written by Fortune executive editor for Asia Clay Chandler.
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