The coming AI economic revolution: Can artificial intelligence reverse the productivity slowdown?


The artificial intelligence revolution is here to stay, and a large part of the reason is the massive economic impact of the technology on the industries it has touched. Effectively implementing AI into a business’s operation requires an incredible amount of planning and precision, as well as consideration of all of the ethical and regulatory challenges associated with the use of the technology.

One of the primary reasons AI has become such an exciting and dominant technology is its ability to process data faster than human workers. In many industries, we have seen efficiency increase by allowing AI and automation to take over simpler and more labor-intensive tasks, enabling human workers to spend more time on tasks that require a more human quality.

The proof of the tremendous impact AI could have on productivity is evident in the economic growth it could inspire. One study by McKinsey & Co. revealed that AI could add from around $2.6 to $4.4 trillion to the economy annually. The fact that this is approximately equivalent to the GDP of a developed country, such as the United Kingdom, shows the massive impact this could have on the world stage across several industries.

Artificial intelligence and jobs

One of the main anxieties critics have shared regarding the future of AI is its potential to displace workers' jobs. However, it’s essential to realize that AI is not designed to replace human workers but rather to supplement them by improving their output.

Although workers may find that their jobs will change, they should not see that they are rendered obsolete as companies begin to invest in reskilling and upskilling programs. For example, a worker on an assembly line may transition into a role supervising an automated production process rather than completing the production themselves.

Beyond reskilling and upskilling, many industries will also see an increase in job creation thanks to the need for more professionals to develop and maintain these new automated systems. The immediate demand for new AI tools is high, placing a premium on those in the workforce who know how to implement these solutions in the workplace. Soon, we will face a future where proficiency in AI platforms is just as essential a skill as understanding how to use basic software.

Adopting AI could also fundamentally change many organizations’ business models. As companies boost their productivity significantly, their output will increase, setting the stage for scalability and growth at a massive scale. Per the Nielsen Norman Group, organizations implementing generative AI systems can expect to see employee productivity and performance improved by as much as 66 percent.

Challenges in AI adoption

Still, before embracing this innovative technology, organizations must consider the ethical challenges surrounding its use. For example, one major complaint against many AI systems is that the technology tends to retain the bias with which it is trained. Thus, for AI technology to be adopted responsibly, companies must ensure that the teams developing and training their artificial intelligence tools are as diverse as possible to eliminate potential sources of bias.

Additionally, special care should be taken to ensure the security and responsible use of any data fed into the AI. Because artificial intelligence platforms tend to use the information input into the platform to further train and develop itself, users should approach any AI technology with the philosophy of not feeding it any information they wouldn’t want to be public. This is especially important for industries where confidential data is handled, such as medical or legal professions, or occupations where proprietary information or IP is frequently used.

Businesses will also face certain regulatory challenges associated with the adoption and use of artificial intelligence. Given the novel nature of artificial intelligence technology, the regulatory landscape surrounding it is relatively underdeveloped. There are no global standards governing AI’s use, leaving these restrictions up to individual jurisdictions. However, companies hoping to embrace AI must understand these local regulations, as they will dictate how this technology can be used and implemented.

Although it is understandable why some have been hesitant to embrace the AI revolution, the truth is that it could be an enormous force of positive change in the economy. By boosting employee productivity, organizations will reap the benefits by boosting employee productivity, seeing the potential for substantial growth.

Image Credit: Mopic / Shutterstock

Ed Watal is the founder and principal of Intellibus, an INC 5000 Top 100 Software firm based in Reston, Virginia. He regularly serves as a board advisor to the world’s largest financial institutions. C-level executives rely on him for IT strategy & architecture due to his business acumen & deep IT knowledge. One of Ed's key projects includes BigParser (an Ethical AI Platform and an A Data Commons for the World).  He has also built and sold several Tech & AI startups. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, he worked in some of the largest global financial institutions, including RBS, Deutsche Bank, and Citigroup. He is the author of numerous articles and one of the defining books on cloud fundamentals called 'Cloud Basics.' Ed has substantial teaching experience and has served as a lecturer for universities globally, including NYU and Stanford. Ed has been featured on Fox News, QR Calgary Radio, and Medical Device News.

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