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ATD Blog

The State of AI: The Attendee Perspective

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Industry professionals don’t only learn from speakers at ATD24—they learn from each other.

An important part of attending conferences is the social interaction and learning from others. During Monday afternoon’s live online ATD24 session, “Empowering Collective Intelligence: Co-Creating a Culture of Human-AI Collaboration,” participants engaged with each other about one of the most talked about topics in talent development today: artificial intelligence.

Early in the session, Karin Goettsch, CPTD, founder and principal of Global Collaboration Sights, and Edith Tiencken, founder and CEO at Smart Brain Insights, opened a poll, “What level of artificial intelligence user do you consider yourself to be?” Sixty-eight percent of participants said they were beginners; 25 percent said they were intermediate; and the remainder (7 percent) indicated they were advanced.

The speakers also asked participants to build a word cloud about how they use the technology. Audience answers included learning objectives, idea generation, graphics and image creation, and scripting courses.

Goettsch and Tiencken suggested guidance on how TD teams can use AI, including tailoring learning content to individual or group’s needs, mapping learning plans and objectives, converting video or audio to accessible text, and blending AI with human mentoring.


Approximately one-third of the attendees were optimistic about AI and said they thought it would improve collaboration in the future. However, the new technology generates a gamut of emotions, including—as Goettsch shared—fear. She showed an array of media headlines announcing jobs lost due to AI.

Given those headlines, how do TD professionals feel about AI? Session attendees shared that they feel excitement, hesitancy, possibility, anxiety, apprehension, and concern, among many other emotions, per the poll that Tiencken introduced.


Apart from the polls that helped attendees benchmark their understandings relative to their peers, participants chatted about the challenges around implementing AI. A sentiment shared by more than one participant was that TD teams don’t generally “own the technology,” to which Tiencken responded that TD teams, then, should do what they can to influence the use of AI in the organization.

Others raised the thorny issue of ethics and confidentiality; a participant mentioned that their organization had a policy of not using public AI due to proprietary content and concern about the potential for prompts and the information AI uses to become public.

Another participant mentioned that AI wasn’t just about the emotions generated by change, but emotions specifically related to the uncertainties about AI and what could happen if it falls into the wrong hands. Further, several participants, along with the speakers, warned of taking AI-generated content as a source for research or the absolute truth. AI is a starting point, and users must verify any information such engines generate.

The facilitators advised that TD teams assess their organization’s readiness by using the SOAR model (strengths, opportunities, aspirations, and results). Further, Goettsch and Tiencken advised, “start small.” TD professionals can develop themselves by ascertaining what most applies to their role, taking courses, working with mentors, experimenting, and joining (or starting) a discussion group.

About the Author

ATD24 News is your source for news, updates, and session coverage for ATD’s 2024 International Conference & EXPO.

1 Comment
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I am very apprehensive about AI because of the unknown and also, I am concerned about the ethics and confidentiality along with AI being used by people to hurt others. Also, people already have enough to worry about trying to work, take care of family and other responsibilities, without adding the fact that AI could replace humans in their jobs. So I can't say that at this time I am excited about AI.
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