Why do PwC say AI will add 14% to global GDP?

This report from PwC reckons AI is going to add $15.7 trillion to global GDP by 2030 – that’s an extra 14% “making it the biggest commercial opportunity in today’s fast changing economy”.

Is this more tech-hype or is there a sound foundation to the claims?

Well this is PwC so we’d expect them to have some rigour to their reporting and indeed they are specific about the source of the growth:

  • Productivity gains from processes being automated
  • Productivity gains from businesses adding AI technologies to augment human activities
  • Increased consumer demand for new AI-enhanced products and services.

But the real question is timing. Most leaders don’t want to be too early into AI so they have to break new ground. Being a fast follower is often much more comfortable so, even if you’re entirely sceptical that AI will have much value for your business in the next decade, you should take a look at the sections on timing and which sectors are most likely to benefit.

As with most studies, the report reckons the biggest winners will be the healthcare, automotive and financial services sectors. Other sectors, such as transport and logistics, will gain from AI too, though for some the benefits are further into the future.

It would be good if research could be published showing estimates of the investment needed to reap the rewards of AI. ROI is always a concern to our clients. In addition they worry that, if they go too early, they could back a losing technology or that they’ll be the ones putting in the early investment and others will pile in later at much lower cost. But as PwC note, “AI front-runners will have the advantage of superior customer insight” so if that’s important to your business model, now is not the time to sit on the sidelines.

There are no certainties in this AI world (which is after all built on probabilities) but absorbing data and opinions from reports like PwC’s always adds richness to your thinking. What do you think about this report and how it will impact on your sector?

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