vertical lineMay: Week in Review

May 1, 2023 | From the Breakroom

By Carson Schatzman, Senior Copywriter


Each Monday, Athena employees receive a recap of important news stories from the past week. On Thursdays, our morning meeting is dedicated to a quiz testing our ability to retain the information. A free lunch is the reward for the winning team. We’re a competitive group, and the quizzes bring out that spirit. Over time a number of our clients have requested our weekly review as well, so we’ve begun to share it weekly now. See below for what we’re paying attention to and why.

Enterprise Implementation of AI

Companies across a variety of sectors are racing to implement Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve efficiency and accuracy. Here are a few highlights of those enterprise efforts.

According to a survey by KPMG US, nearly two-thirds of US executives believe that generative AI will have a high or extremely high impact on their organization in the next three to five years, according to Venture Beat. However, most struggle to keep up with technological development as well as regulatory and ethical concerns and believe they are a year or two away from implementation. The challenge is balancing stakeholder trust with crucial development.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the global accounting and consulting firm, plans to invest $1 billion over the next few years in developing generative AI technologies to enhance its auditing, consulting, and tax services, The Wall Street Journal reports. PwC has been experimenting with AI for several years and will be partnering with technology companies and academic institutions to develop these new technologies.

Pace & Precision: Other reports are taking note of AI’s impact on productivity and the potential for a competitive edge.

  • An Accenture report found that generative AI has helped reduce production costs by an average of 17% in various industries, including automotive, electronics, and consumer goods, Variety reports. AI can reduce the need for human intervention, reduce waste and improve sustainability.
  • McKinsey & Company studied 400 companies across industries, including healthcare, finance and manufacturing, and found a 14% increase in worker productivity according to Bloomberg. AI tools had a significant impact on worker productivity by automating routine and low-value tasks, allowing employees to focus on higher-value work.

The Bottom Line: While technological and operational challenges exist, enterprise implementation of AI is ramping up as companies seek to gain a competitive edge.

Adapting and Identifying Professional Value

The recent leaps in Generative AI have created anxiety about how AI may impact the job market. This WIRED column closely examines how AI may change not only our jobs, but also the most valued qualities for human beings.

Experts Say: The AI boom will realistically grow the economy rather than “take all the jobs.” However, this new wave of automation is uniquely focused on white-collar workers. Since white-collar roles are often valued for “competency,” workers tend to place significant personal importance on their careers, seeking out meaningful work that enables them to “express [their] full potential.” Being replaced by AI may then come with high emotional and personal costs.

AI Overachieves: Artificial Intelligence, which has already scored a 90% on the Uniform Bar Exam and a 77% on Advanced Sommelier theory, may redefine professional and personal value. The standards of competency for art, design, science, law, medicine, and engineering sectors may be redefined.

All About the Mindset: When an AI, Alpha Go, defeated the world’s best Go players – and Go is often considered “humanity’s most complex game” – the players’ responses determined their future. One prodigy, Lee Sedol, soon retired; another, Ke Jie, reinvented himself to make new, valuable contributions to professional Go. Adaptability and healthy perspective were the key ingredients in Ke’s pivot.

What Does It All Mean? The author concludes that AI may fundamentally change the way we understand and value ourselves. Rather than pure competency, softer skills such as humor, presence, and personality may “become the game” of the future.


An Elegant Activation

New on the scene, luxury fashion retailer Couper recently took brand awareness to the next level with a full-scale activation at New York City’s Hall des Lumières, according to BizBash.

Perfect Timing: Caroline Gilroy, co-founder and CEO of Couper, planned the brand activation around the springtime “launch into RSVP season” to catch people’s interest at a time when “occasion wardrobing is top of mind.” Couper organized the social event to display their products and establish their “brand DNA.”

Setting the Stage: NYC’s Hall des Lumières (HDL) is a 30,000-square-foot digital art museum set in a historic building that once housed an early-1900’s bank. With its high ceilings and floral digital displays, Agee Gretta Leinberry, co-founder and COO, felt it was the perfect setting to showcase their approach of clothing as “wearable work[s] of art.”

Delivery is in the Details: In the spirit of clothing as art, Couper reiterated their platform of “please touch the art” with an elaborate presentation of food and drink – after all, “it’s not a Couper event without overflowing Coupe glasses.”

  • HDL also video-mapped decorative works by Gustave Klimt, and the fashion brand scattered spring weather dresses on gold racks alongside tables filled with statement jewelry pieces and flowers.

Elevated Activation: With a full-sensory experience, Couper, which is primarily an online retailer, was able to bring their brand to life in a way that emphasized their high-quality product by delivering an evening to remember. “There is nothing better than touching, feeling, and styling the product in person,” Leinberry said.

Best of the Rest

Spring is in full swing: The New York Times put together an itinerary for how to spend the perfect 36 hours in Philadelphia, from smorgasbord along East Passyunk Ave to live music on Rittenhouse Square. [NYT]

Amazon is making progress towards launching its satellite-powered internet, Project Kuiper, into space, and expects to start delivering broadband connection to customers by the end of 2024. [WSJ]

First Republic Bank was taken into receivership and sold to JPMorgan Chase on Monday, marking the third mid-sized bank failure this year and the second largest bank failure in U.S. history. [AP News]

Once a potential industry-defining move, Ernst & Young’s plan to split their consulting and accounting services is being abandoned; the firm is now looking to repair damage from a breakup, approved by 13,000 EY partners, that won’t happen. [WSJ]

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