11 Jun 2024

Gus Balbontin: Cutting Through the Hype of AI

gus on AI

As AI continues to take the world by storm, it can be difficult to cut through the hype and the noise, and understand where we should place our attention when it comes to incorporating this emerging technology into our lives and businesses. Gus Balbontin, with 20 years of experience working with disruptive technologies, likens the emergence of AI to that of the internet, saying, “we overestimated the internet in the short term but underestimated it long term. Today we can’t run our businesses without the internet, in the future you won’t be able to run your business without AI.” 

So what’s just hype when it comes to AI? Do we need to worry? What should we do? At this point, AI is already intimately integrated with our every day lives. Banks use it for fraud detection, airlines use it to help with booking tickets, Google uses it to map your drive home, Netflix uses it to recommend your next binge watch, Spotify uses it to play you music you’ll love. Every time you open Instagram, every time you unlock your phone with your face, play a game, AI is there. It has been silently augmenting our lives in incredibly helpful ways, even replacing jobs already, but somehow it seems we finally noticed!

The march of AI is a logical continuation of the tech path we have been on for a few decades now. Gus Balbontin doesn’t see this is a reason to panic, but instead as a profound opportunity. Here are some key insights from Gus that will help you cut through the hype with AI, understand how it works, and how to integrate it in your world.


  • Don’t overestimate what it can do short term and simultaneously underestimate what it will do long term. This is dangerous. A bit like the internet, for those that remember, when the bubble popped in the late 90s-early 2000s it was because we overestimated what it could do short term, we then had this false sense of “maybe it’s a fad, lets go back to what we have always done” and today we literally cannot run our businesses without the internet.


  • If you are still paying the backlog of digital debt, you are about to start piling up AI debt if you are not careful. Don’t be one of them, start playing and ensure you don’t overestimate the hype or underestimate the impact. In some instances, for those businesses that are still running analogue processes, you may skip digitisation all together and jump on AI – A bit like how some places skipped landlines and went from no phone to mobile phones – but only if you get moving soon.


  • You may have heard the term Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) and even Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI) or discussions on when will Ai take over like Skynet did in Terminator. I think the mistake we made in the past is wasting too much time and resources trying to predict the future and not investing enough resources in playing with potential futures, and in the process increasing our tolerance to change, and the discomfort that inevitably comes from novelty. Investing in your ability to adapt to whatever happens is what will guarantee your relevance, not predicting what will happen. So stop worrying about AI and actually do something about it. The Human impact is what counts.


  • Don’t complicate it, don’t make it bigger than what it needs to be, don’t leave it for later. Make it simple, make it small and act on it now. AI poses no danger, inaction does. The opportunity is open to those that act.


Gus will help your audience understand AI in simple terms, recognise how much we already use it today and play with some examples on how it can apply to your job, business or industry. He will help you cut through the hype to focus on what the real human impact really is. The battle scars he collected over the years working and supporting businesses and humans through the digital revolution apply in today’s AI context. The human impact, the disruption it causes in our cultures, the over investing in trying to predict what will happen and under investing in our ability to deal with whatever happens…you are probably thinking “I haven’t finished with digital transformation and now I need to worry about AI transformation?” Let Gus hep you make sense of it all. Gus’ keynote will make it simple, make it small and help you act on it now.

Gus has investments in a number of AI startups, in medical diagnostics, travel, sport, language processing, and more, while also developing a handful of AI tools including cultural diagnostics, and wellbeing focused programs.


Get in touch to book Gus Balbontin for your next event!


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