Google Australia's boss just warned that Australia needs to 'speed up' on AI or miss out on a $2.2 trillion boom

Brendon Thorne/Getty ImagesNot sure what that bridge is? Google Lens can now tell you in real-time.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning have infiltrated our lives, automating both mundane and complex daily tasks.

While many worry that this robot revolution will cause job redundancies, Google Australia managing director Jason Pellegrino says it will simply change the way we work, and it’s a train Australia can’t afford to miss.

Speaking from the Google Australia HQ in Sydney today, Pellegrino said:

“From a Google perspective, we came out about two years ago with a fairly bold statement to say that we are going to be… an AI-driven company. What that means is that every product we build, every way we think about engaging with consumers… is going to be built upon a spine of artificial intelligence and machine learning particularly.

“The reason being that they are the core technologies that enable us to build at scale, to build products that are deeply personalised and can deal with… an incredible aggregation of exponential trends.

“These trends, where users are moving at faster rates, where technology is flying from every single direction, the only way to really deal with that is to essentially take your hands off the wheel and stop doing what you’ve done in the past, and start thinking through how to automate and keep up with those curves.”

Quoting research by AlphaBeta, Pellegrino said: “Over the next 15 years there’s about $2.2 trillion of economic growth available for Australia through automation — that’s an enormous figure.

“And our ability to capture that will [largely] determine the future prosperity for Australia”.

He said Australian success in doing that relies on two things.

“First of which we need to make sure everyone is skilled. The human capital that has the skills to meet the needs of these future technologies of automation.

“Your job… is most likely going to exist in 15 years time but the way you go about doing that is going to be very, very different.”

He added that the second piece of the puzzle was “we need to speed up”.

“About 8% of Australian-listed companies are actively investing in AI and machine learning technology. That compares to about 20% of listed companies in the US.

“We need to double our pace of adoption in order to capture this economic growth. And we’re in a global economy now, so the implications of not speeding that up… is missing out completely”.

His comments follow the launch of a slew of new futuristic features on Google Lens including a tool that will let users “Shazam” the world in real-time on a smartphone’s camera.

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