Artificial Intelligence in the Landscaping Industry

Opportunities, Risks and Ethics
From my perspective

Since the launch of ChatGPT’s free tool earlier this year, allowing most anyone to personally interact with artificial intelligence, it’s on everyone’s hot topic list.  We’ve been experiencing the benefits of AI in labor saving and data analytics from some of the leading-edge providers for several years.  It’s exciting to think of all the benefits we have yet to tap into in the landscaping industry.

I witnessed the explosion of interest and application of AI at the Lawn & Landscape Technology Conference this summer.  We learned about the power of the improvements in automation, data analytics and the use of AI to cut costs and improve profits.  These tools can, among other things, transform our ability to identify customers, market to them, stay in contact with them, manage operations efficiently and optimize our businesses in ways we haven’t even thought about yet.

Exciting, yes.  Scary, yes.  No doubt we are in the midst of a change similar to the industrial revolution and the future of work will be transformed.  

By now, most of us have tried at least one of the AI tools, whether that be a free app like ChapGPT for writing assistance, or some other.  If you haven’t, I urge you to play with it for just a few minutes.  Having a “hands on” experience will change your vision.  With the deluge of tools, apps, and information available, we are overdue for serious thinking and standards among business owners about the ethical use of AI.  What’s acceptable and what’s not?  

For example, do you have rules and guidelines in place to acknowledge when AI was used to generate copy or a design?  Do you have best practices in place for employees?  Who does the fact checking to make sure the final product is trustworthy?  Don’t we have a responsibility to provide guidelines that protect our clients and employees?  How do we make sure we are using artificial intelligence tools and processes that support our values, standards and principles that guide our company in other areas? 

For an excellent outline of the issues and recommendations for business, here’s a link to an article from Forbes written by an expert in digital innovation.  Forbes article   For an even deeper dive, here’s a well-written overview from a software company, written by Linh Nguyen OrientSoftwareEthicalAI

These are important issues for all of us, especially business owners who are gaining the improvements in marketing, sales, and operational efficiencies.  The tradeoff is the responsibility we have.  We must make sure we are using these tools ethically.  Spend some of the time saved and profits earned to create guidelines for ethical use in your business.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could get a think tank working on this from the landscaping industry perspective made up of developers and users? 

This will be an issue in the future when you are thinking about exiting your company.  Don’t be left behind when thinking about how these issues might impact your opportunity to maximize the price and terms you could receive from selling your business.  If you’d like to discuss your situation on confidential basis, we’d be happy to have a complimentary conversation with you about these or any other exit/sales/buying issues.

You can reach me via email: [email protected] or on my cell phone at: 224-688-8838.

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Alison Hoffman

has more than 25 years of experience in strategy, operations, mergers and acquisitions and delivering business-to-business client solutions. Her areas of expertise include managing operations for profitable growth, organizational design and strategy activation. She brings a wealth of experience through her work in evaluating, valuing and purchasing over 30 companies, leading company-wide cultural and business integration projects and consolidating best practices among business processes and corresponding computing systems. Read Full Bio