Propelify 2023 – AI Is Your Servant, Not Your Master

By Rob Rinderman

On a beautiful sunny day in early October, on the Hoboken waterfront, thousands of attendees came together for Propelify 2023 presented by TechUnited:NJ. This year’s theme was “All about AI” [artificial intelligence].

Speaker, author and entrepreneur David Meltzer moderated a freewheeling panel entitled, “AI Is Your Servant, Not Your Master.” The panelists included: Claude Silver, chief heart officer at VaynerMedia (New York); Rebecca Price, partner at Primary Venture Partners (New York); and Alex Iceman, founder and CEO of Genium (New York).

With so much concern about the negative aspects of AI — from job-loss, privacy and intellectual-property issues to bad actors hijacking the truth — the panelists focused on many of the positive AI use cases, including personal and professional life hacks. Below are some of the key learnings covered during their discussion:

Claude Silver:

  • Silver uses voice-generated technology (Siri) for efficiency and speed, especially with certain repetitive tasks that she needs to perform.   
    • AI helps with her mental health, providing positive affirmations.
    • She focuses on soothing, comforting and connecting with others.
    • AI can help people feel less isolated.
    • Technology can potentially help individuals connect in a better way. 
  • AI translation software helps her communicate with fellow VaynerMedia employees, who are based around the world, in their native languages.
    • Empathy is an emotion, she said, and the end point is kindness and compassion. 

Rebecca Price:

  • Price utilizes AI to achieve internal efficiency across her personal life — including getting started with her writing. It can also suggest good books for reading and places to visit.
    • She recently asked ChatGPT, the popular AI-powered language model, to help her and her 13-year-old daughter tackle math homework together.
  • At work, Price has found BrightHire to be an excellent tool for producing AI-generated notes that she can review after interviewing a prospective employee.
    • This makes it easier for her to listen more closely to the interviewee during their conversation, since she doesn’t have to take notes while conducting the interview.
  • She makes it a practice to send personalized thank-you and recognition notes to fellow team members at the office, making her colleagues feel special.
    • AI can also help her get that important task started. 
  • According to Price, humans have the ultimate responsibility for AI being good or evil.

Alex Iceman:

  • One vertical where he finds the prospects for AI really exciting is healthcare. For example, AI and machine learning (ML) can help detect early tumors, thereby saving lives.
  • Prior to the Propelify panel, Iceman took some time to bounce ideas off of AI, which he said helped him to be better prepared.   
  • At Genium, proactive AI deployment actually allows employees to spend more quality and productive time with each other.
    • Iceman cited the example of an employee who was clearly depressed. Fellow team members went out of their way to spend more time with this individual, and the company decided that the best option was to give that individual time off to help them fully recover.

David Meltzer:

  • Meltzer said that AI has actually been around in various forms for many years.
    • As an example, he noted that after graduating law school he searched relevant case law for slip and fall cases via the Westlaw platform.
  • Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia once told him that you need books to research case law, as nobody will ever use computers for that kind of research.
  • Good coaches — in sports and elsewhere in life — are those who are the most skilled at getting the best performances out of their players.
    • It’s important to be a good teacher and mentor to others. Iceman’s mom taught for 47 years, and was an inspiration to many, including Meltzer.
  • A cool use for AI is answering questions as if you were a famous person in history.
  • Hammers can be used to build a house, but also to tear a house down — a metaphor for the good and bad uses for AI.
  • It’s best to look at things through a lens of gratitude.

Rob has been a trusted advisor and consultant to senior executives at public and private organizations for 3+ decades. He advises companies and entrepreneurs on business development, strategic communications, marketing/social media, capital sourcing preparedness, turnkey valuations-related services and related areas. Reach him at rob@smcconsulting.biz

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