Artificial intelligence (AI) promises social and economic change on a par with the industrial revolution. However, this profound change will be squeezed into a single generation, rather than the several generations over which society was able to adapt to the impacts of the first industrial revolution.
This is according to Andrew Howard, Head of Sustainable Research at global asset manager, Schroders, who says that while the world has barely begun to see the effects of AI, the range of consultants and industry experts who have explored the topic thus far are almost unanimous in the view that AI will deliver significant economic benefits for those who are prepared.
“It is predicted that we could see an additional $16 trillion worth of output from AI alone by 2030, helped by significant rises (between 11% and 40%) in labour productivity. If these numbers play out, the implications will reach far beyond niche technology sectors.”
In order to enjoy these economic benefits, however, Howard says that companies need to acknowledge and embrace the labour force disruption and social adjustment that is likely to transpire with the AI revolution. “Technology that is able to form decisions autonomously could revolutionise jobs that have relied on judgement, knowledge and insight. As such, companies and their labour force will need to retool with technology skills and adapt to the different roles people will play in a newly-networked economy.”
Artificial intelligence is also likely to create self-reinforcing positions of dominance for incumbent leaders, says Howard. “The largest companies will accumulate more data, providing a competitive advantage. If exploited wisely, it will allow them to develop more powerful insights and actions, bolstering their scale and strengthening their competitive positions