PwC recently released a report on the potential economic value of AI to different regions and industry sectors around the world. The report defined AI, “as a collective term for computer systems that can sense their environment, think, learn, and take action in response to what they’re sensing and their objectives.” By this broad definition, AI includes the automation of physical and cognitive tasks; assisting people to perform tasks better and faster; helping humans make better decisions; and automating decision making with no human intervention.
The report’s overriding finding is that AI is the biggest commercial opportunity for companies, industries and nations over the next few decades. PwC estimates that AI advances will increase global GDP by up to 14% between now and 2030, the equivalent of an additional $15.7 trillion contribution to the world’s economy.
Around $6.6 trillion of the expected GDP growth will come from productivity gains, especially in the near term. These include the continued automation of routine tasks, and the development of increasingly sophisticated tools to augment human capabilities. Companies that are slow to adopt these AI-based productivity improvements will find themselves at a serious competitive disadvantage.
But, over time, increased consumer demand for AI-enhanced offerings will overtake productivity gains and result in an additional $9.1 trillion of GDP growth by 2030. Moreover, network effects, - that is, the more data and better insights companies are able to gather, the more appealing the products and services they’ll be able to develop, - will further increase consumer demand. AI front-runners will gain an enormous competitive advantage through their ability to leverage this rich supply of customer data to shape product developments and business models, making it harder for slower moving competitors to catch up.