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Ric Raftis Consulting

Harvesting Tomorrow: The Role of Community Leaders in Navigating the AI Revolution

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Have you ever wondered what the future might hold? In recent times, there’s been a buzz about something called artificial intelligence, or AI for short. Right now, we’re on the brink of a major shift – the fourth industrial revolution. The progress in just the past year has been astonishing. So, what happens when robots and computers start doing all the work? They’re cheaper, faster, and safer than humans at many tasks. And no, this isn’t a plot from a sci-fi movie – it’s real, and it’s unfolding before our eyes. Consider the evolution of agriculture: large farms once requiring a small army of workers are now operated by a single family, thanks to technological progress.

But what does this mean for our jobs, our way of life, and our sense of community? Think about simple tools like calculators; they’ve made maths so much easier, to the point where we often don’t do sums in our heads anymore. And computers aren’t slowing down. They continue to evolve at a rapid pace, with significant advances in processing power and efficiency. This trend was historically observed through Moore’s Law, named after Gordon Moore, the co-founder of Intel. [[Intel. (2023, September 18). Moore’s Law. Intel. [https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/newsroom/resources/moores-law.html]]

AI and Community

As AI gets smarter, it’s going to change work as we know it. At first, machines will boost how much we can do. But gradually, as they learn and improve, they might just outpace us entirely.

So, with less work for humans, where do we find purpose? Maybe this is our chance to rekindle community ties. You might’ve heard adults say things like “back in my day, we didn’t have so many latchkey kids,” or “families used to spend more time together”. Could the rise of AI bring us closer, returning to a time when “it takes a village to raise a child” wasn’t just a saying but a way of life?

But are we ready for such a shift? How will it shape our community? One thing is clear: those who know how to lead and bring people together—community leaders—will be more important than ever. They’re the ones who will kick-start projects, get people talking, and find out what everyone’s excited about. By inspiring us to chase our passions and get creative, they’ll help us all shine in new ways.


The growth of ChatGPT
The growth of ChatGPT

People love sharing how they use ChatGPT, and these stories can inspire even more ideas. While many are still using the free version, known as ChatGPT3.5, there’s a whole new world out there with advanced versions like GPT4 and even custom GPTs tailored for specific tasks – whether it’s helping with academic research, community projects, or sharpening your negotiation skills. [[Open AI. (2023, November 6). Introducing GPTs. https://openai.com/blog/introducing-gpts]] And let’s not forget about the fun stuff like image generators, learning tools, and digital mysteries.

One of the coolest features is how you can link these AIs together, kind of like creating a team where each player has a special skill. You could ask one AI to design an image, then have another turn it into a logo, and finally, bring in a writing assistant to craft a story around it. Just imagine the endless possibilities!

Education and AI

Education is one area where AI could really make a difference. Instead of everyone following the same lessons, imagine having a personal plan that fits just right, helping each student learn in their own way and at their own pace. [[Hashim, S., Omar, M. K., Jalil, H. A., & Sharef, N. M. (2022). Trends on Technologies and Artificial Intelligence in Education for Personalized Learning: Systematic Literature Review. International Journal of Academic Research in Progressive Education and Development, 11(1), 884–903.]]

Ethics and AI

AI is already shaking things up in entertainment too, suggesting movies you might like, or even acting as a virtual game master. And it’s not stopping there—customer service, legal work, and many other fields are also getting a boost from AI. It can sift through legal documents, pinpoint important cases, and draft arguments. And this is just the beginning.

Even the medical field might see big changes with AI stepping in to assist with diagnoses. These technologies are still in their early stages, but if we can dream it, there’s a good chance we can build it. That said, with all this potential comes a hefty dose of responsibility. Ethical considerations are at the forefront of AI development.

code of ethics
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

We need to ensure that the AI we build upholds our human values. This leads us to wonder – who gets to decide what those values are? Some fear that AI could have too much power, much like the risks associated with nuclear weapons. Every tech advance brings risks, and as a global community, we’re tasked with managing those risks to keep our world safe and sound. Ensuring AI acts responsibly and ethically requires human guidance and oversight. [[Hagendorff, T. (2019). The Ethics of AI Ethics: An Evaluation of Guidelines. Minds and Machines, 30, 99–120. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11023-020-09517-8]]

Accessibility and the Digital Divide

The debate around AI accessibility is another hot topic. Should AI models be open source for anyone to tweak and use, or should they remain under lock and key, owned by a few big companies? Open access could level the playing field, giving everyone equal access to use AI for progress. But if AI stays behind closed doors, it might only benefit those who can afford it, leaving others behind and potentially widening the gap between rich and poor. [[Marr, B. (2023, June 2). The 15 Biggest Risks Of Artificial Intelligence. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2023/06/02/the-15-biggest-risks-of-artificial-intelligence/]]

This brings us to the digital divide – a very real issue where some have internet access and others don’t, impacting not just cities but rural areas as well. Bridging this divide is crucial to ensuring AI’s benefits reach every corner of society. There is no reason why a small child in the remote mountains of Papua New Guinea should not have access to education.

Community Leadership in the Future

Artificial intelligence is more than just a tech buzzword – it’s key to unlocking a future where everyone gets to share in the wealth of opportunities it creates.

As we consider the future, the need for skilled community leaders becomes undeniably clear. [[Martiskainen, M. (2017). The role of community leadership in the development of grassroots innovations. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 22, 78–89. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eist.2016.05.002]] The shift towards a post-labour economy will be marked by significant transformations, and guidance through this transition is imperative. Just as CEOs are meticulously groomed for their corporate roles, our community leaders require equally rigorous training. Without it, we risk leaving them unprepared to face the multitude of challenges that lie ahead.

Leadership is often viewed as an innate trait, but in reality, it’s a skill set that can be cultivated. Leadership abilities are not simply manifested; they are carefully developed through education and practical experience. [[SPG America. (2023, July 5). Leadership: Is it a Trait or a Skill? LinkedIn. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/leadership-trait-skill-spgamerica/]] The time to foster these skills is now, before the full onset of job displacement due to technological advancements makes its impact felt. Already, we’re witnessing job losses across the board, from traditional blue-collar roles to professions like computer programming and even law, with AI now capable of passing bar exams.

Communities Need to be Proactive

Being proactive is key – our communities must be ready to not only adapt but also to prosper in the face of these changes. Leadership training is an investment in our collective future, and though it may come at a cost, the benefits far outweigh the expense.

The role of local businesses and organizations in sponsoring such training cannot be overstated. They are integral to the fabric of our communities, and their support in developing leaders is an investment in their own sustainability. Community prosperity and business success are inextricably linked, and as such, investing in leadership training is investing in a community’s vitality.

I speak from personal experience when I say that leadership programs can be transformative. As a proud graduate of the Loddon Murray Community Leadership Program (LMCLP), I can attest to its life-changing impact. The program connected me with a network of remarkable individuals, all dedicated to strengthening their communities. It was an experience that not only honed my leadership skills, but also deepened my commitment to community service.

Programs like the LMCLP have a profound effect on their participants and, by extension, on the communities they serve. For over 25 years, the program has been a catalyst for countless community projects, each one contributing to the region’s growth and resilience.

I invite you to explore the LMCLP website to learn about the incredible initiatives it has fostered. These stories are more than just testimonials; they are an inspiring call to recognize the power of leadership development. When we invest in our future community leaders, we’re investing in the very heart of our community’s future.


Image of AI robot

In reflecting back through this article, we’ve taken a closer look at the transformative power of the fourth industrial revolution, fueled by the relentless advancements in artificial intelligence. [[Bai, C., Dallasega, P., Orzes, G., & Sarkis, J. (2020). Industry 4.0 technologies assessment: A sustainability perspective – ScienceDirect. International Journal of Production Economics, 229(107776). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpe.2020.107776]] AI will undoubtedly reshape not only our economy but our lifestyle and the very fabric of our communities. With machines becoming more proficient than humans in many tasks, our sense of community and belonging becomes an anchor in an ever-changing world.

Reflecting on my own journey with the Loddon Murray Community Leadership Program, I’ve witnessed the incredible potential that lies in leadership development. Such programs are not just an investment in individuals but in the collective future of our communities. The positive influence of one trained leader can ripple out, touching lives and shaping destinies.

Making it all Happen

The time to act is now. We must come together – local businesses, organizations, and individuals – to recognize the vital role of community leadership training. It’s an opportunity to foster a culture of engagement and empowerment.

Sponsorship need not be a daunting prospect. By banding together, pooling resources, and sharing the learning journey, communities can magnify the impact of their investment. A participant in a leadership program can become a conduit of inspiration and knowledge, invigorating others to take part and contribute. The individual you help train, equipped with newfound skills and confidence, could well become the next Chairperson or President of your community organisation.

Leadership is about the collective, the community, the shared journey. It’s about igniting innovation, catalysing progress, and nurturing the seeds of projects that will bear fruit for years to come. A community fortified by strong leadership stands ready to meet any challenge with inventiveness and an unwavering spirit.

AI and the Future of Leadership Education
AI and the Future of Leadership Education

We’ve touched on the transformative potential of AI in education. Now, imagine a day when community leadership training is universally accessible, unbound by financial barriers. Leadership is not about directing from on high but about walking alongside, crafting a collective vision for the future, and bringing that vision to fruition with skill, passion, and joint effort.


In conclusion, I invite you to wholeheartedly embrace the essence of community leadership. Recognize its power to weave a stronger social tapestry, to bolster the sustainability of our communities, and to illuminate the path toward a shared, vibrant vision. The future awaits, and it is ours to shape. I look forward to meeting you on the journey.


Feel free to comment on this article. Your thoughts will not only be welcome, they will bring your perspective to the conversation. If you would like more information on the impact of AI on your community or organisation, don’t hesitate to reach out via one of my contact methods.

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4 thoughts on “Harvesting Tomorrow: The Role of Community Leaders in Navigating the AI Revolution”

  1. Like all changes, it will take a while for people to accept the inevitable.
    AI won’t go away but I suspect that it will be like climate change, some people just won’t accept it. This irrespective of how much you explain it or prove it.
    Many people fear change, some to the point of hostility.
    So what do we do?
    If AI is beneficial to you, use it.
    If it frightens you or you are skeptical, don’t.
    Sadly I fear that AI will divide people, and you will get the us and them mentality which we are seeing as all around the world.
    I am of the opinion that future generations will decide, wether we like it or.

    1. New technology can often be a challenge Peter. The perfect example is Roger’s Diffusion of Innovation Curve indicating the rate at which people adopt new technology. The reality of history however would tend to indicate that even the laggards and luddites are eventually left with little choice. The world moves forever in a forward or backward direction depending on your perspective.

      Thanks for taking the time to engage in the conversation. That is the whole purpose of the article.



  2. Ai is inevitable, irrespective of some humans inability to accept it. Personally I think it’s a good thing but AI can also be used for selfish reasons and to the detriment of society and people. The boundaries are being pushed further away and the problem is that they may not reach some people. While the benefits can be staggering, you will have some humans the won’t and will never except AI. Many people hate change and irrespective where it comes from and some people will never accept it. This leads to the two camps syndrome where it will great a divide in society.
    The biggest problem with AI is the way it has been promoted. At the moment, it has been promoted as a sinister force of malevolent robots that will take over our lives wether we like it or not. A paradise for conspiracy theorists and nut jobs. Let’s rethink the inevitable and promote it as AI, acquired intelligence because when you break it all down, that is what it is.

    1. “The biggest problem with AI is the way it has been promoted. At the moment, it has been promoted as a sinister force of malevolent robots that will take over our lives wether we like it or not.”
      Information about AI will depend on where you look for it. You are quite correct in many of your comments Peter. Many people choose to live in a bubble and engage in confirmation bias to support their initial views. That is a truism irrespective of the issue. We can only hope that people learn to listen more and become more critical in their thinking.

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