AI may eat jobs, but it'll boost GDP

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Artificial intelligence and robots may steal your job, but at least they'll help grow GDP.

That's according to accounting firm PwC, which predicts that global GDP will climb by 14% by 2030 because of AI technologies a whopping $15.7 trillion boost on the world's economic output.

Half of that is down to labour productivity improvements presumably including job losses as well as "consumer demand resulting from AI-enabled product enhancements". China stands to win the most, with GDP up 26%, followed by the US with 14.5%, PWC predicted. Europe and developed parts of Asia will clock up gains of 9% to 12%.

"North America will experience productivity gains faster than China initially, driven by its readiness for AI and the high fraction of jobs that are susceptible to replacement by more-productive technologies," the report said. "China will begin to pull ahead of the US's AI productivity gains in 10 years, after it catches up on a slower build up to the technology and expertise needed."

The gains aren't only in automation, which is expected to be what kills off up to a third of all currently existing jobs, but in expanding what we're capable of doing.

"The analysis highlights how the value of AI enhancing and augmenting what enterprises can do is large, if not larger than automation," said Anand Rao, global leader of AI at PwC. "It demonstrates how big a game changer AI is likely to be transforming our lives as individuals, enterprises and as a society."

PwC predicted the industries of retail, finance and healthcare will see the largest changes. In retail, it predicted personalised design and production, consumer insights, and inventory and delivery management would be most impacted. Finance would see personalised financial planning, fraud detection, and automated transactions, while healthcare changes will include AI diagnostics, pandemic identification, and imaging, such as radiology and pathology.

While those changes will have the biggest impact on GDP, other changes PwC forecasted include autonomous car technology for ride-sharing, delivery, and traffic control, as well as on-demand production in manufacturing and even AI content creation in films, music and marketing.

"No sector or business is in any way immune from the impact of AI," said Gerard Verweij, global data & analytics leader at PwC.

"The impact on productivity alone could be competitively transformational and even disruptive. Businesses that fail to apply AI, could quickly find themselves being undercut on turnaround times as well as costs and experience, and may lose a significant amount of their market share as a result."