Are we ready? It’s a simple question at times. Leaving the house, heading out to a restaurant, packing for vacation. At other times it is nothing short of monumental. That is where it falls when asking if we are ready for the next evolution of AI.

People walk through an artificial intelligence (AI) exhibition called “Sex, Desire and Data,” … [+] depicting transformed pornographic images, at the Centre Phi in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on August 8, 2023. The exhibit was created using deep learning and artificial intelligence to guide visitors through the connection between desire and technology. Visitors are also invited to interact with Max, an AI ChatBot created for the exhibit. The exhibit includes parts about confessionals, interactivity, as well as elements taken from pornography and sex work (namely cam girls). (Photo by ANDREJ IVANOV / AFP) (Photo by ANDREJ IVANOV/AFP via Getty Images)

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Mckinsey report into Generative AI claims that there is the possibility of AI-driven automation increasing global productivity by a mere 0.2-3.3% from 2023 to 2040 . This begs the question; Are we grossly underestimating AI’s potential? In my mind, yes we are.

Roopa Purushottam (C), Chief Economist and Head of Policy Advocacy for Tata Sons addresses the … [+] gathering on the second day of the three-day B20 Summit in New Delhi on August 26, 2023, as Martin Schroeter (L), Chairman and CEO of Kyndryl; Sun Xiao (2L), Secretary General of the China Chamber of International Commerce (CCOIC); John W.H. Denton AO (2R), Secretary General at International Chamber of Commerce and Bob Sternfels, Global Managing Partner at McKinsey and Company look on. (Photo by Arun SANKAR / AFP) (Photo by ARUN SANKAR/AFP via Getty Images)

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What Recent History Tells Us

From 2021 to 2023, we witnessed a staggering acceleration in AI capabilities. Companies like Anthropic and Cohere saw unicorn valuations, signaling a booming interest and investment in this domain. Can we really align these advancements with such a conservative productivity estimate for the next two decades? This seems folly, and on the verge of dangerous.

According to Precedence Research, global industrial automation was estimated at $195 billion dollars in 2022 and is projected to surpass $459.51 billion by 2032. At that rate of growth, we must plan for a larger increase in global AI growth, possible larger employment displacement, and critical needs for massive reskilling initiatives.

Photo Illustration McKinsey & Cohere, Suqian, Jiangsu Province, China, on July 19, 2023. (Photo … [+] Illustration by Costfoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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A Glimpse Into the Future

Many of us are already enmeshed in AI’s web, even if unconsciously. From our Netflix recommendations to LinkedIn’s feed, algorithms shape a substantial portion of our digital experiences. Extrapolate this trend, and it’s easy to envision a near future where AI doesn’t just recommend, but also constructs. Imagine immersive AI-generated environments for work, education, entertainment, and more, tailored to our individual preferences, perhaps even outshining the appeal of the real world. This is not mere science fiction; it’s a plausible trajectory given our current technological pace.

What happens next

It’s not just about better movie recommendations or more efficient workflows. The AI revolution has the potential to reshape the very fabric of our society. If AI starts to dominate our experiences, our relationships, and societal structures we could witness a transformation unlike anything in the past 200 years. What if this happens? This isn’t to sound an alarm, but to emphasize that change of this magnitude requires careful foresight and planning.

While a 0.2-3.3% increase in global productivity due to AI may sound impressive on the surface, it’s essential to zoom out and appreciate the broader picture. We’re potentially on the brink of an AI revolution that could redefine life itself.

The real challenge? Ensuring we’re prepared for the ride.

  • Rapid AI Advancements: The progress made in AI capabilities from 2021 to 2023 is seen as extraordinary. It shows no sign of slowing down. According to IBM and Techjury AI blog, a staggering 77% of businesses are using or exploring AI.
  • Investment & Valuation: A PwC study states that AI could contribute up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030, and a 26% boost in GDP for local economies in that same timeframe.
  • Underestimated Impact: The predicted 0.2-3.3% increase in productivity due to automation and AI seems to be a severe underestimation given the potential of the technology. McKinsey also predicts 15 percent of the global workforce, (around 400 million people) could be displaced by automation by 2030.
  • The World Economic Forum predicts that AI will replace 85 million jobs worldwide by 2025, but it will also create 97 million new jobs. Yes, that is a new 12 million job gain, but are we preparing the workforce to fill those roles?

Unprepared World

There’s a belief that the global community is largely unprepared for the magnitude of change AI might bring. Companies, from startups to corporates, are weaving generative AI into their core functions. There is increasing importance of AI in boardroom discussions, investment decisions, and C-suite operations. McKinsey’s report on Generative AI shows, plain as day, there is no area of industry this technology will not affect. Sales and marketing will see productivity increases, IT solutions will be hastened, R&D times will shrink, and decisions will be made faster, and with higher rates of success.

The companies that will win the next decade are those that approach Generative AI with excitement and with a mind open to its potential. The technology cannot be ignored. You must see it as a partner in progress and growth. It can help you, your staff, and the company as a whole to a better and more secure future. The time is now. The opportunity is yours, if you decide to take it.