Why Business Leaders Should Freak Out about ChatGPT 4o.

Powerful AI tool ChatGPT-4o disrupts workplaces. Embrace AI or risk falling behind. Learn how to integrate AI responsibly for a happier future of work.
Daan van Rossum
Daan van Rossum
Founder & CEO, FlexOS
I founded FlexOS because I believe in a happier future of work. I write and host "Future Work," I'm a 2024 LinkedIn Top Voice, and was featured in the NYT, HBR, Economist, CNBC, Insider, and FastCo.
May 16, 2024
min read

Serious question: are you falling behind on your own people?

Recent Microsoft data shows that AI is ramping up in companies unexpectedly, and perhaps not in the way you’d hoped.

Last year, 57% of knowledge workers used Generative AI; now, 75% do, with almost half adopting it in the past six months

Future Work People Use AI

Worryingly, Microsoft’s Work Trend Index highlights a “Bring Your Own AI” (BYO-AI) trend. 

Employees bring their AI tools to work due to a lack of company-provided resources, leaving 60% of leaders worried about their organization's AI strategy.

Future Work BYOAI

And this worry is likely only going to increase based on this week’s news. 

OpenAI Announces ChatGPT 4o, Another Headache for Leaders

On Tuesday, OpenAI announced that every employee worldwide would soon have free access to ChatGPT-4o, a natively multi-modal LLM comparable to the paid GPT-4 Turbo, which:

  • Understands and speaks at human speed
  • Takes in real-time video from your phone
  • Is 50% cheaper rates than ChatGPT 4 Turbo 
  • Is 2x faster than Turbo in English, and supports foreign languages better
  • Comes with a desktop app that can 'see' what you're working on
  • Can deliver real-time coaching and tutoring 

Just looking at some of the demos helps us grasp (at least conceptually) how powerful this is:

The latest voice capabilities with human-like response time enable live translation, which could reduce miscommunication in global teams:

The ChatGPT 4o desktop app and coding assistant, which could further increase the efficiency of programmers (one of the jobs AI could replace eventually):

Real-time tutoring, which could change how employees get support in the flow of work, impacting AI in management:

Interview prep with AI highlights how vision changes the game and hints at how you could practice a presentation or simulate a tough negotiation. 

And while all of the technical features and demos are impressive as hell, two newsworthy updates will have an even bigger impact on companies:

1. ChatGPT 4o will be available to FREE users. People will have even more reason to bring AI tools to work unless you offer them, given how powerful this model is compared to ChatGTP 3.5, 

2. GPTs, custom apps built on ChatGPT, are now available to all users. The 95% of people on the free plan can now too access powerful workflow automation.

The Impact of Free ChatGPT 4o on Companies 

Free access to ChatGPT-4o, including GPTs, will significantly impact companies. 

Some benefits include:

  • Real-Time Coaching and Support: ChatGPT 4o’s capabilities can enhance skills and productivity by providing instant feedback and personalized learning.
  • Enhanced Collaboration: Streamlines global team communication through real-time translation and multi-modal capabilities.
  • Competitive Advantage: The new model helps automate routine tasks to increase efficiency (and joy at work!), which can help AI-savvy companies get ahead. 
  • Automation, Customization, and Flexibility: Creating and sharing custom GPT apps allows for tailored workflow automation, enhancing specific business processes. Businesses can tailor GPTs to their needs, driving innovation and efficiency.

However, there are risks:

  • Data Security and Privacy Risks: Real-time video and desktop sharing increase data breach risks. Enhanced data protection measures, including switching to Team or Enterprise plans, are essential to safeguard data.
  • Dependence on AI: Over-reliance on AI could reduce human oversight and critical thinking, making people ‘fall asleep at the wheel.’ Conversely, there’s a risk of unequal distribution of AI advantages: The gap between AI-savvy and AI-novice employees could widen.
  • Workforce Displacement: Job displacement will accelerate, especially in roles like Customer Service Representatives and Translators. What do you tell your people who saw these announcements, especially as I shared with Business Insider that 4o’s capabilities are so human-like?
  • Ethical Considerations: Advanced AI brings ethical challenges, including bias and privacy concerns. Businesses must adopt ethical guidelines to ensure responsible AI usage, as I discussed previously with Ashutosh Garg from AI unicorn Eightfold.

Why Leaders Should Freak Out

As I coach executives on Leading with AI in their roles and companies, I’ve seen firsthand that there is still much work to be done to get companies AI-ready. 

Executives must prepare for AI adoption to avoid falling behind. 

Based on what we’ve learned from the Moderna + OpenAI partnership, and three great articles from the past week, here’s how:

  • Start Small and Scale Gradually: Begin with pilot projects to demonstrate AI’s value before expanding. Focus on enhancing individual workflows before expanding across the organization.
  • Invest in Data: Ensure robust data collection and management practices. But, as Aamer Baig and colleagues write in a new McKinsey article on scaling Generative AI, don’t be a perfectionist: “Go for the right data, not the perfect data.”
  • Foster an AI-Driven Culture: Encourage the adoption of AI tools through training and support. Implementing job crafting to embed AI in every facet of a role is key, as Professor Maryam Alavi says in HBR
  • Promote Internal AI Champions: Get everyone on board, empower top AI users and leadership to lead by example, and establish local office hours or internal forums for AI support and collaboration. In an upcoming Future Work episode, WSJ technologist Alexandra Samuel shares that AI enthusiasts are best placed to get others on the train.
  • Address Ethical and Operational Risks: Develop guidelines for responsible AI use.
  • Leverage External Expertise: Partner with AI experts for ongoing support. (And yes, I’d be happy to deliver a 90-minute Lunch and Learn on the topic – send me an email or inbox me on LinkedIn.)
  • Measure and Iterate: Continuously monitor AI implementation outcomes and adjust strategies based on user feedback.

The Bottom Line: Start Your AI Adoption Now

AI is no longer a future consideration; it’s a present necessity. Embrace, implement, and lead your organization into the AI-driven future. 

A future where you can give your people more flexibility, automate routine tasks, and free up time for meaningful productivity

Don’t be held back by a fear of technology, says Professor David De Cremer in a stellar HBR article

"You can’t bring everyone into the AI adoption process if you’re not heavily involved yourself. But business leaders often ask me how they can guide an AI-based transformation when they have no personal expertise with the technology." – David De Cremer, Management and Technology Professor, Northeastern University

Microsoft’s global VP of HR agrees in a blog post detailing how he successfully transformed his HR team:

“You don't need to be a technologist. You need to have an adoption plan.” – Christopher J. Fernandez, Corporate Vice President, Human Resources, Microsoft

This is how we create a happier future of work, where technology empowers people to focus on what truly matters. 

Let's get started – discuss how you can integrate AI into your organization effectively. We’re doing 2-4 week private cohorts of “Lead with AI” for companies worldwide.


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Future Work

A weekly column and podcast on the remote, hybrid, and AI-driven future of work. By FlexOS founder Daan van Rossum.