Addressing AI’s Future Role in the Boardroom

  • By: Adam Wire
  • December 19, 2023
AI's Future in the Boardroom
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the way organizations operate. Higher education is no exception.

How can your institution leverage AI today to enhance board governance and management? And, how can you prepare for the opportunities and challenges AI is sure to present in the future?

Recently, Matt Maxwell, senior consultant at AGB OnBoard, joined Jay Rubin, AGB OnBoard’s principal product manager to share insights and practical tips for how boards can leverage AI to improve board governance and management. 

Maxwell and Rubin explored:

  • The role of AI in the boardroom today and how it can complement the board’s work 
  • How the future of AI will impact board operations 
  • Ways institutions can leverage AI to navigate changes in board composition 
  • How AI can contribute to your institution’s strategic goals, long-term sustainability, and responsiveness to emerging challenges and opportunities 

Watch the discussion here.

AI is Everywhere

In the past, discussions about AI weren’t very common. But today, those conversations are happening everywhere. The boardroom is no exception. 

Maxwell was recounting a time this past summer when he was having a conversation with the Secretary to the Board of Trustees at a higher education institution. “She said AI is part of every board and committee meeting now. There are discussions about what it is and how it affects our daily lives,” Maxwell said.

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Intelligent Assistants Can Simplify and Streamline the Work of the Board

Today, one of the most common ways professionals are tapping into AI is for document summarization and synthesis. Recently, AGB OnBoard released an intelligent assistant product in beta to a small group of users. 

“It’s an assistant, very similar to the ChatGPT interface,” explained Rubin. “But it’s fenced-in. Every customer has their own interaction.” 

Rubin shared how some of the customers in the beta group are using this feature. For example, a CEO of a credit union uploaded a financial statement and asked the assistant to summarize it and identify the top five risks. “It’s like having an analyst sitting next to you,” said Rubin. “The client said the assistant’s output was similar to what their analysts came up with – but much faster.”

When it Comes to AI, We’re Only Scratching the Surface

By now, most people are familiar with AI platforms like ChatGPT, Dall-E, and Midjourney – among others. They may even use these tools in their personal or professional lives. 

“Essentially, these [generative AI platforms] use very intelligent mathematical models that understand human language,” Rubin explained. 

However, AI doesn’t end with these platforms. 

“AI has multiple degrees of intelligence. We’re only scratching the surface with this,” explained Rubin. “We’re seeing that first level of intelligence, which is what we call the assistants.”

AI Will Continue to Evolve

But how will boards use AI in the future?

“We’re looking at getting away from AI being a feature in the corner of a product,” Rubin explained. “We’re actually looking at ways to enhance the current feature sets within our product to make them more intelligent – so AI augments the product.” 

For example, AI might summarize a document, provide action items, and then build out the board meeting agenda based on those action items.

“We want to remove some of the administrative tasks to make the product work for you,” said Rubin. 

“You can offload the mundane task side of things so you can focus on true governance,” added Maxwell. “That’s where I see us having a lot of power as we move into next year.” 

AI Also Presents Challenges

AI is transforming the world of business. As such, it can be tempting to go “all in.” 

However, it’s important to remember that AI also introduces risk. 

“AI in general is ‘use-at-your-own-risk,’” explained Rubin. “You should do your due diligence to make sure it’s valid. These tools still require some degree of scrutiny. They’re not a silver bullet.” 

With that said, AI isn’t something that should be feared.  

“It isn’t anything to be scared of. It’s just a new evolution of technology. It’s one of these things that comes out every 10 years or so that changes the way we interface with technology,” said Rubin. “Think back to the mid-2000s and it was mobile and the app culture. Then it was Cloud and software as a service (SaaS). AI is the next big thing.”

Soon, AI will be common in all facets of life. 

“Today, it’s one of those things we’re wowed by,” said Rubin. “But these kinds of tools and models will be embedded in most software we’re working with and interacting with in the course of the next couple years.”

Every Board is at a Different Stage of their Digital Transformation Journey

AI is a hot-button topic. However, Maxwell reminded viewers that not everyone is diving into AI. Instead, every board is at a different stage of their digital transformation journey.

Some organizations still use printed board books and other materials. Some are using PDFs and email attachments. Still others rely on a dedicated board portal like AGB OnBoard. 

There are opportunities for each of these groups to simplify and streamline operations. At the end of the day, the goal is to improve board effectiveness. 

“There are some functional things you can do today,” concluded Maxwell. “Enabling your board to make more informed decisions is pretty powerful.” 

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About The Author

Adam Wire
Adam Wire
Adam Wire is a Content Marketing Manager at OnBoard who joined the company in 2021. A Ball State University graduate, Adam worked in various content marketing roles at Angi, USA Football, and Adult & Child Health following a 12-year career in newspapers. His favorite part of the job is problem-solving and helping teammates achieve their goals. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and two dogs. He’s an avid sports fan and foodie who also enjoys lawn and yard work and running.