Generative AI has become a powerful technology capable of transforming all sectors and industries in recent months. Thanks to the advances and potential of this technology, it is transforming the way we work, the way we communicate, the way we create content, our processes and business models. As has happened every time such a disruptive technology appears on the market, Generative AI will affect the global economy in different ways, driving economic growth and fostering new ways of working.
According to a recent study by McKinsey, Generative AI is poised to unleash the next great wave of productivity. They estimate that this technology could add the equivalent of between $2.6 trillion and $4.4 trillion in value to the global economy on an annual basis. To put this in perspective, the total UK GDP in 2021 was $3.1 trillion. To draw out this figure they analyzed 63 use cases, ranging from creating personalized customer messages and automated scheduling, to generative design among other things. This means that the impact of artificial intelligence would increase by 15% to 40%. If we were to include the impact of integrating Generative AI into software that is used for other tasks beyond the analyzed use cases, this estimate would have to double.
The four areas that would be most impacted by Generative AI are: customer operations, marketing and sales, software engineering, and R&D.
As mentioned earlier, Generative AI is changing the way we work. One of the main opportunities of this technology is the automation of tasks, which has the direct consequence of saving work time. It is estimated that it can reduce this time by as much as 60% to 70%, which can accelerate the pace of transformation of the work environment. McKinsey estimates that on a business-as-usual basis, half of all work tasks could be automated between 2030 and 2060.
The direct consequence of this is that workers will have to adapt to their new activities, roles and routines. It will be a process in which they will have to be accompanied and provided with the necessary tools to carry it out in the best possible way. New jobs with new functions will also arrive, so training will have to be provided for these new jobs. Generative AI could drive labor productivity growth of between 0.1% and 0.6% per year until 2040, depending on the pace of adoption of the technology and the reallocation of workers’ time to other activities. However, it is vitally important to manage these transitions for workers organically and with a People Centric philosophy, which places the individual in the most important place in the company by betting on a humanized vision of the company.
All sectors will benefit from the impact of Generative AI, but there are 4 in which it is estimated that we will see the biggest changes: the banking sector, big technologies, pharmaceuticals and retail.
Risks and conclusions
Generative AI has the capacity to have a very positive impact on the global economy and create a lot of value (the McKinsey report estimates that Generative AI has the capacity to increase global GDP by 7%, a very high figure), however, we must not forget the risks to which we expose ourselves by introducing this type of technology into our routines. While it can be a great economic accelerator, there is the potential for it to be more disruptive than predecessor generations of artificial intelligence. This is because they work with language, which is one of the most basic human skills and a fundamental requirement in most work activities. By working with language models (LLM), it is easy to misrepresent messages, cause harm through misunderstanding, hurt feelings, create conflict, manipulate, obscure the truth and even incite violence.
As a technological innovation that has materialized so quickly, the excitement and concern about integrating it is enhanced in equal parts. We should remember that the advent of Generative AI came in the fall of 2022 with ChatGPT.
Generative AI confronts us with moral and legal dilemmas (such as who owns the generated content and copyright issues) for which we must find answers and solutions quickly if we want to make transparent, legitimate and fair use of this technology. We are currently at the beginning of a journey that will lead us to understand the power, scope and capabilities of this technology. That is why it is important that we invest time in getting to know and understand Generative AI well in order to get the maximum benefit and predict its impact.
The era of Generative AI has only just begun. The forecasts are promising and the first pilot projects are showing convincing results. However, we cannot forget that the benefits will take time to fully materialize and there are still considerable challenges ahead for both business leaders and citizens.
Image: Unsplash | Marga Santoso
Marketing Assistant at Keepler. "My work is oriented to the planning and organization of events. What I like the most about Keepler is to be able to work in an international environment and to learn from people from all over the world."