Artificial Intelligence (AI) could boost UK gross domestic product by around 10% by 2030, according to a new report by PwC.
Gains will be made largely through increasing product choice and consumer demand, the growing personalisation of products and their increased affordability over time.
Such a rise in gross domestic product (GDP) is the equivalent of roughly £232 billion ($US297.34 billion). Meanwhile, the report predicts, global GDP could receive a boost of 14% by 2030, equivalent to about $US15.7 trillion (£12.25 trillion), making AI the “biggest commercial opportunity” in the economy today.
In recent years, the fear of automation and the threat that AIs — or ‘robots’ — could pose to jobs has increased. But PwC says increased labour productivity is likely to have a lesser impact on GDP than might be expected.
“Much of the focus on AI to date has been on the impact that increased automation of tasks will have on jobs,” says Jonathan Gillham, economist at PwC.
“While we expect that the nature of jobs will change and that some will be susceptible to automation, our research shows that the boost to UK GDP that AI-driven products and services will bring will also generate significant offsetting job gains, as well as boosting average real wage levels,” he says.
AI is the collective term for computer systems that can sense their environment, learn, think and take action in response to what they sense. Some AIs are designed to work in collaboration with humans, by making part of a task simpler or faster, while some are designed to replace humans and allow an entire process to be automated.
Here is a chart of expected GDP growth:
The research shows that gains from increased productivity will be felt before those from consumption-led benefits, as new products are gradually developed and come onto the market, and the AI consumer sector becomes more competitive.
The greatest economic benefits of AI are predicted to be felt in China, which could see a boost to its GDP of up to 26% by 2030. The sectors expected to be most likely to benefit are retail, financial services, and healthcare.
“No sector or business is immune from the impact of AI. That’s why it’s so important for the UK to place itself at the forefront of the AI revolution and create the right environment for existing and new businesses to innovate and make the most of the product, productivity and wage benefits that this technology can bring,” says Euan Cameron, UK AI leader at PwC.