22 May 2024

AI expected to supercharge productivity over next few years - survey

6:10 am on 22 May 2024
Artificial intelligence controlling the world, conceptual image. (Photo by TIM VERNON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRA / TVE / Science Photo Library via AFP)


Artificial intelligence is expected to supercharge workers' output - with some early adopters already seeing a five-fold increase in productivity - according to a new business survey.

PwC's first global AI Jobs Barometer survey indicates AI was seen as good news for a world facing persistently sluggish productivity growth.

"This is the baseline report and in some respects, considering we're so early in this AI revolution, it is interesting that we're already seeing such clear trends," PwC New Zealand AI expert Scott McLiver said.

The survey said 84 percent of the heads of companies believed AI would increase efficiency in their employees' time at work.

About 70 percent of chief executives indicated AI would significantly change the way their company created, delivered and captured value over the next three years.

The emergence of AI was also changing demand for new skills.

McLiver said growth in demand for AI-related skills was 25 percent faster than for other roles.

About 69 percent of global chief executives expected most of their workforce would need to develop new skills to meet the changing demands.

The majority of workers also had a positive view of AI, with 31 percent anticipating it to increase their productivity and 21 percent expecting AI to create new job opportunities.

McLiver said it was still early days for the adoption of AI, but the pace of change would be rapid, with New Zealand businesses poised for change.

"While we are still at the start line, there is no question organisations are spending money to acquire the skills they need to transform their business," McLiver said.

"There will be a whole series of new jobs created from this technology.

"And those things that are deeply human are more and more valued."

However, in a more alarmist and possibly ironic study, the gaming site Slingo rates New Zealand as the third most vulnerable to a scenario where AI becomes the most dominant form of intelligence on Earth.

It said the country would face worrying implications for all facets of industry, including automation, copyright infringement and data security risks.

The rating was based on New Zealand's relatively smaller proportion of young people, fewer internet users, and lack of cyber security.

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