AI is now at the heart of every innovative economy

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How do you solve an enormous problem like stagnant global growth? It would require getting more productivity from people already working flat out. The solution? Well, it comes from something other than people, of course. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to double the GDP growth rates of 12 developed economies by 2035 a study found out.

The study, entitled Why Artificial Intelligence is the Future of Growth, also found that AI could significantly boost labour productivity – by up to 40pc in some cases.

Between them, the 12 countries analysed generate more than half of the world’s economic output. Accenture and Frontier Economics modelled each country’s economy in 2035 in a baseline scenario that shows expected economic growth under current assumptions. They then compared this with a growth scenario that allows for AI being absorbed into the economy over the next 18 years.

“AI is poised to transform business in ways we’ve not seen since the impact of computer technology in the late 20th century,” said Paul Daugherty, chief technology officer, Accenture.

The combination effect of Artificial Intelligence, cloud, sophisticated analytics and other technologies is already starting to change how work is done by humans and computers, and how organizations interact with consumers in startling ways. Our research demonstrates that as AI matures, it can propel economic growth and potentially serve as a powerful remedy for stagnant productivity and labor shortages of recent decades

Unsurprisingly, AI would appear to yield the biggest economic benefits for the world’s largest economy, the US. The modelling suggests that its annual growth rate would leap from 2.6pc today to 4.6pc in 2035, generating an additional $8.3trn for the economy. The UK could boost its annual growth from 2.5pc to 3.9pc, generating an extra $814bn.

AI is in everyday use across a range of industries. Banks are using it to automate a series of paper-based processes and insurers are applying it to detect fraud and to validate claims remotely. Mr. Purdy reports that a government agency has shown its support for AI by implementing the virtual customer-service assistant Amelia, which was developed by Accenture’s partner, IPSoft.

But while Artificial Intelligence has the potential to transform the workplace across almost any sector, we are still some way from seeing the realisation of that potential. One big reason is that the upfront investment that Artificial Intelligence requires can a deter organisations from investing in it, even though the ‘‘self-learning’’ nature of AI technologies means they get better and more cost-effective as time goes on. Another reason is the absence of appropriate regulatory frameworks to support the use of AI.

Finally, there are significant social, cultural and organisational barriers to widespread adoption of AI – particularly the fear that the technology will result in job losses and social unrest.

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