A.I. was supposed to improve decision making. Instead, business leaders are so overwhelmed with data they’re struggling to function

April 19, 2023, 7:20 AM UTC
Illustration of a brain exploding with data.
A new massive study of business leaders found that they're overwhelmed by data.
Getty Images

Good morning.

Put aside Chat GPT, Bard, Wall-E and the other wizards of generative A.I. The original promise of artificial intelligence was that powerful algorithms and speedy computers would take vast amounts of data and spin them into useful intelligence. Business decision making would get better.

But the opposite may be happening. A giant study out this morning from the folks at Oracle, based on a survey of more than 14,000 business leaders, reveals some shocking statistics:

  • 74% of those responding say the number of decisions that they have to make every day has increased more than 10X over the last three years.
  • A similar proportion—78%—complain they are being bombarded with more data than ever before.
  • 86% say the volume of data is making decisions in their personal and professional lives more complicated, not less.

The result: a rise in decision distress, decision delay, and even decision paralysis. A stunning 72% admitted there are times when the sheer volume of data, and lack of trust in that data, prevents them from making any decision at all.

“People are drowning in data,” says Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, data guru and author of a great little book called Don’t Trust Your Gut, who partnered with Oracle on the study. “They are tempted to throw out the confusing, and sometimes conflicting, data and just do what feels right.”

Oracle, of course, is hardly a disinterested observer of this phenomenon. The company is offering its own services as an antidote. But it’s still pretty stunning to learn that the promised revolution in business decision making seems to be heading in the wrong direction. And it’s a good illustration of the “mismatch” identified by Google CEO Sundar Pichai (and cited in yesterday’s column) between “the pace at which we can think and adapt as societal institutions, compared to the pace at which the technology is evolving.”

More news below.

Alan Murray



BoA's downsizing  

Bank of America has announced plans to cut up to 4,000 jobs, or 2% of its workforce, by the end of June despite reporting better-than-expected profits in Q1. CEO Brian Moynihan said the bank is not anticipating a slowdown in business; rather, the cuts are due to a cooling jobs market. Financial Times

Heading south

New York City still has the highest concentration of ultra-wealthy individuals, but smaller urban areas in the Sunbelt region are becoming more attractive to wealthy retirees and tech multimillionaires due to lower tax burdens, more space, and remote work opportunities. Houston, for instance, is home to 20 billionaires. Fortune

The Dimon deposition

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon will sit for a deposition in litigation accusing the bank of knowingly benefiting from Jeffrey Epstein's sex-trafficking. U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff said the plaintiffs' lawyers will have five hours to question Dimon. Lawyers for former JPMorgan executive Jes Staley, whom the bank has accused of concealing info about Epstein, can question Dimon for two hours. Bloomberg


ChatGPT asked the founder of the world’s largest hedge fund for his best investing tip. This was his response by Will Daniel

Workers aren’t scared of a recession—they’re still looking for a new job by Megan Leonhardt

Tribe Capital just can’t quit FTX: VC burned by SBF is considering an investment in reboot of bankrupt crypto exchange, report says by Ben Weiss

OpenAI’s Sam Altman says giant A.I. models are over—but going small won’t appease regulators by David Meyer

Tiny stressors, major impact: how to keep ‘microstress’ from wrecking your health and happiness by Barbara Brody

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by Jackson Fordyce. 

This is the web version of CEO Daily, a newsletter of must-read insights from Fortune CEO Alan Murray. Sign up to get it delivered free to your inbox.

Read More

CEO DailyCFO DailyBroadsheetData SheetTerm Sheet