The AI Advantage

From Management on the Cutting Edge

The AI Advantage

How to Put the Artificial Intelligence Revolution to Work

By Thomas H. Davenport

Cutting through the hype, a practical guide to using artificial intelligence for business benefits and competitive advantage.





Cutting through the hype, a practical guide to using artificial intelligence for business benefits and competitive advantage.

In The AI Advantage, Thomas Davenport offers a guide to using artificial intelligence in business. He describes what technologies are available and how companies can use them for business benefits and competitive advantage. He cuts through the hype of the AI craze—remember when it seemed plausible that IBM's Watson could cure cancer?—to explain how businesses can put artificial intelligence to work now, in the real world. His key recommendation: don't go for the “moonshot” (curing cancer, or synthesizing all investment knowledge); look for the “low-hanging fruit” to make your company more efficient.

Davenport explains that the business value AI offers is solid rather than sexy or splashy. AI will improve products and processes and make decisions better informed—important but largely invisible tasks. AI technologies won't replace human workers but augment their capabilities, with smart machines to work alongside smart people. AI can automate structured and repetitive work; provide extensive analysis of data through machine learning (“analytics on steroids”), and engage with customers and employees via chatbots and intelligent agents. Companies should experiment with these technologies and develop their own expertise.

Davenport describes the major AI technologies and explains how they are being used, reports on the AI work done by large commercial enterprises like Amazon and Google, and outlines strategies and steps to becoming a cognitive corporation. This book provides an invaluable guide to the real-world future of business AI.

A book in the Management on the Cutting Edge series, published in cooperation with MIT Sloan Management Review.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262039178 248 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 6 figures


$19.95 T ISBN: 9780262538008 248 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 6 figures


  • An essential guide to business.


  • Davenport reports on what AI has accomplished so far, where it has failed, and where it might soon spectacularly succeed...He explains the different types of tech that commonly fall under the AI umbrella, explores the ways businesses are incorporating AI into their processes, and examines the ethical considerations of this powerful new technology.


  • Thomas Davenport explains how almost any organization — whatever its size and nature may be — can become productively and profitably involved in the artificial intelligence “revolution.”

    Bob Morris, Blogging on Business

  • Fascinating insight into the practical business value and the return on investment generated by AI technologies.... Thoroughly grounded in business management literature, the book will appeal mainly to managers and leaders interested in broadening their view of artificial intelligence. Recommended.



  • AI is real, but not easy. Here, Tom Davenport approaches this difficult topic with his trademark explanation, insight, and real-world examples. And the book's title is perfect: you'll get access to the biggest source of competitive advantage today if you read The AI Advantage.

    Andrew McAfee

    Principal Research Scientist at MIT and coauthor of The Second Machine Age and Machine | Platform | Crowd

  • Consider this book as your 'AI myth buster'—a fabulous guide to anyone faced with vendor hype and moonshot expectations of AI. It cuts through the clutter, giving a clear explanation of the true capabilities of AI, a pragmatic approach of how to think through its potential in your organization, and methods to drive the effective adoption of AI at scale. A must-read!

    Dave Gledhill

    Group CIO, DBS Bank

  • AI pervasiveness is inevitable. It will be everywhere, grow hyperbolically, and catch most by surprise. The only question is when that tipping point will be. Davenport's book provides a holistic path to prepare organizations and individuals for what is to come in a structured manner full of real-life examples and applications.

    Leandro DalleMule

    Head of Information Management and Chief Data Officer, General Insurance, AIG

  • Organizations are looking to learn about the practical applications and business impact of AI. Many of their questions will be answered by this excellent book.

    Janet Foutty

    Chair and CEO, Deloitte Consulting, LLP

  • The AI Advantage is a must-read for executives who wish to truly become cognitive corporation leaders and not merely 'cocktail party' pontificators who dupe their colleagues into believing they've 'got AI,' but, in actuality, only have a few pilots possessing little to no business impact at all.

    A. Charles Thomas

    Global Chief Data and Analytics Officer, General Motors

  • The promise of AI technology is to transform us. But things get in the way: hype, denial, and just simple misunderstanding. Once again, Tom Davenport has taken on the role of the business sherpa, guiding decision makers through the maze of technology to the business transformation we all want.

    Kristian J. Hammond

    Professor of Computer Science, Northwestern University; and Chief Scientist, Narrative Science