My Beginner’s Guide to Artificial Intelligence

A client reached out and asked if I could put together a “beginner’s guide to AI” for them and their team a little while ago. I thought long and hard on the topic as I have so much excitement for the possibilities but so much trepidation about the impacts (especially to individuals in careers that will be threatened by the mass adoption of AI). Apple’s announcement this month that they are infusing iPhones with ChatGPT intelligence only drives that home. We are in a time of transition, and I want my own clients but anyone running a business or working in a sector that will be affected (which is every sector) to be prepared or at least mindful of what’s coming.

So, I put this together in a more expanded format with charts, examples, etc, but this is a good outline of the main points. I thought it would maybe help some others, and my client graciously said I could post this as a result. Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions!

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a topic that’s constantly buzzing around us. Whether you’ve heard about it in the context of ChatGPT, Apple Intelligence, Microsoft’s Copilot, or self-driving cars, AI is transforming the way we live, work, and even think. If you’re like many people, you might be on the fence about diving into this technology. You might know what ChatGPT is but aren’t quite sure if it’s something you should use. Let’s break down the benefits and costs to help you understand why AI deserves your attention.

The Benefits of Embracing AI

Efficiency and Productivity

One of the most compelling reasons to embrace AI is its ability to enhance efficiency. In our busy lives, whether managing businesses, marketing campaigns, or family time, finding ways to streamline tasks can be a game-changer. AI can help automate mundane tasks, organize your day, and even draft your emails. Imagine having a virtual assistant who never sleeps, always ready to help you.

For instance, AI-powered scheduling tools can help you manage your calendar more effectively by automatically setting up meetings and sending reminders. This means less time spent on administrative tasks and more time dedicated to what truly matters – growing your business, strategizing your marketing efforts, or spending quality time with your family.


AI can personalize experiences in ways we’ve never seen before. For marketers, this means creating targeted campaigns that resonate on a personal level. However, AI can analyze data to understand preferences, behaviors, and patterns, allowing for a more customized approach in almost any field.

Imagine being able to offer each customer or client a unique experience that caters to their needs and interests. This personalized approach can significantly enhance engagement and loyalty. In marketing, AI can help create highly targeted content that speaks directly to the needs and interests of your audience, increasing engagement and conversion rates.

Access to Information

The vast amounts of data generated daily can be overwhelming whether you’re solo, on a team, or working in the C-Suite. AI can sift through this information and give you the insights you need. Whether you’re researching a new marketing strategy, preparing for a presentation, or just curious about a topic, AI can help you find relevant and accurate information quickly.

Think about how AI-powered search engines and research tools can simplify the process of gathering information. Instead of sifting through endless articles and papers, AI can provide the most pertinent sources, saving you time and effort. This is especially valuable in professional settings where timely and accurate information is crucial.

Creativity and Innovation

AI isn’t just about number-crunching; it’s also a tool for creativity. Tools like ChatGPT or Copilot or Gemini or Claude can help brainstorm ideas, generate creative content, and even compose poetry. It’s like having a creative partner who can help you think outside the box and explore new possibilities.

As someone who values creativity, imagine having an AI that can help you brainstorm new marketing ideas, create engaging content for your campaigns, or even assist in writing your next blog post. AI can inspire new ways of thinking and help you push the boundaries of your creativity. It’s not just for writing high school papers, but there are very tangible ways to use AI to spur new insights and not just “do the work for you.”

The Costs and Considerations

Privacy Concerns

I’m a huge privacy and security nerd. I take this very seriously with my own personal digital (and non-digital) life as well as that of my family members. One of the main concerns people have with AI is privacy. AI systems often rely on large amounts of data, some of which might be personal. It’s essential to be aware of what data you’re sharing and how it’s being used. Look for AI tools that prioritize data security and transparency if you’re using AI in any sort of corporate or work-related output. 

For instance, when using AI tools, always check their privacy policies and opt for those that offer robust data protection measures. Be mindful of the information you input into these systems and ensure that sensitive data is handled appropriately. Balancing the benefits of AI with the need to protect personal privacy is crucial.

Dependence and Skill Degradation

There’s a valid concern that relying too much on AI could lead to a degradation of our skills. Just like relying on a calculator too much can weaken basic arithmetic skills, leaning heavily on AI might impact our ability to perform specific tasks independently. It’s important to strike a balance and use AI as a tool to enhance, not replace, our capabilities. As someone who has worked in education with middle and high schoolers, I especially feel this need to train and model this balance.

Consider using AI as a complement to your existing skills rather than a crutch. For example, while AI can help draft emails or create marketing strategies, reviewing and personalizing these outputs is still important. This way, you maintain your proficiency while benefiting from AI’s efficiency. AI systems are constantly being developed and will continue to improve, but there are very real examples of businesses and even attorneys and physicians using AI output that was later proven to be false or misleading. Be wise.

Ethical Considerations

AI raises a host of ethical questions. How should AI be used? What are its implications for decision-making processes? These questions are close to my heart as someone interested in theology and ethics. It’s crucial to consider the moral dimensions of AI and ensure that its development and deployment align with our values.

Engage in discussions about AI ethics and stay informed about how AI technologies are being developed and used. Advocate for ethical AI practices that prioritize fairness, transparency, and accountability. By doing so, we can help shape a future where AI benefits everyone.

We are constantly hearing stats about the number of jobs (and incomes) that AI replace in 1, 5, or 10 years. I do believe we are in for a societal shift. I do not want people to suffer and lose their jobs or careers. However, AI is not going away. How can you or your business manage that delicate balance in the most ethical way possible?

Economic Impact

AI is reshaping industries, which can lead to job displacement. While AI creates new opportunities, it also means that some roles may become obsolete. Preparing for these changes involves continuous learning and adaptability. It’s important to equip ourselves and our teams with the skills needed in an AI-driven world.

Promote the development of skills that are complementary to AI, such as critical thinking, creativity, and emotional intelligence. Encourage yourself or your team to pursue fields that leverage AI technology, ensuring they remain competitive in the evolving job market. Emphasizing lifelong learning will help individuals adapt to the changes brought about by AI.

Embracing AI: A Balanced Approach

AI is a powerful tool with immense potential, but it also has its share of challenges. As we navigate this new landscape, it’s essential to approach AI with a balanced perspective. Embrace the benefits it offers, but remain vigilant about the costs and ethical implications.

For those still hesitant, I encourage you to experiment with AI tools like ChatGPT. Start small, see how it can assist you in your daily tasks, and gradually integrate it into your workflow. AI isn’t just a trend; it’s a transformation that’s here to stay. By understanding and leveraging AI, we can better prepare ourselves and our businesses for the future.

Explore AI Tools

Begin by exploring AI tools that can assist you in your daily activities. For example, try using ChatGPT for drafting emails, creating marketing strategies, or brainstorming ideas. Experiment with AI-powered scheduling tools to manage your calendar more efficiently.

Educate Yourself

Stay informed about AI developments and their implications by reading articles, attending webinars, and participating in discussions about AI. Understanding the technology and its potential impact will help you make informed decisions about its use. As always, reach out to me if you have any questions.

Balance AI Use with Skill Development

While leveraging AI, ensure that you continue to develop your own skills. Use AI as a supplement rather than a replacement. For example, review and personalize AI-generated content to maintain your proficiency. Find online webinars that are geared towards AI trainings or demos that you can attend or review. There’s plenty of videos on YouTube, but be wise and discerning as your attention is more valuable than quality content on many of those channels. 

Advocate for Ethical AI

Engage in conversations about AI ethics and advocate for practices that prioritize fairness, transparency, and accountability. Stay informed about how AI technologies are being developed and used, and support initiatives that align with your values. Whatever your industry or profession, there’s room (and economic incentive) for conversations about ethics in the realm of AI.

Prepare for the (YOUR) Future

Encourage yourself or your team to develop skills that complement AI technology. Promote critical thinking, creativity, and emotional intelligence. Emphasize the importance of lifelong learning to adapt to the evolving job market. Critical thinkers will be the key decision makers in 2034 100x more than they are today in 2024.

Final Thoughts

Artificial Intelligence is a transformative force that’s reshaping our world in profound ways. By understanding and embracing AI, we can unlock new levels of efficiency, personalization, creativity, and innovation. 

However, navigating this landscape with a balanced perspective is crucial, considering the costs and ethical implications. Be wise. Be kind. Be efficient. The future feels uncertain and this is technology that will literally transform humanity more than the internet, more than electromagnetism, more than automobiles… we are entering a new age in every facet of our lives both personally and professionally. I don’t want to scare you, but I do want you and your team to be prepared.

For those still on the fence, I encourage you to take the plunge and explore AI’s potential. Start small, experiment with different tools, and see how they can enhance your daily activities. AI isn’t just a passing trend; it’s a revolution that’s here to stay. By leveraging AI wisely, we can better prepare ourselves and our businesses for the future.

And as always… stay curious!

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