Getting Ready for My Robot CEO Replacement

While planning on taking a week’s vacation, I was intrigued by one of the comments on a recent blog post I wrote, which predicted that a Robot CEO could do my job while I was away. And maybe for ever after.

The piece makes a lot of good points about decisions that need to be objective and based on data, that likely will be better done by automation. That got me thinking about the things that I do as a CEO that would be hard for a robot to replicate. As the CEO of a 75-person startup, my job is mostly about,

1) Telling the story around the mission and vision for the company,

2) Hiring the right people and building the culture,

3) Raising money, and

4) Driving change when rules of the business change.

A lot of these tasks require storytelling, relationships, empathy and decision making with lots of gray. They require some intuition that comes from experience. I don’t doubt that a robot can pick the best potential candidate for a job based on data, but can it determine whether that person will be a good fit for the company and will it be able to convince the candidate that the company is the best fit for them?.

My conclusion is that a robot CEO will likely be able to do my job for a week or so, but when it’s called upon to hire the next great employee or raise the next round of funding, it might find itself falling a little short, notwithstanding the incredible recent progress on creative improvisation. At least for the next decade.

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