Google forecasts Australia’s AI opportunity at $290b in 2030

Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

Artificial intelligence could add $280 billion of economic, cyber and environmental benefits to Australia in 2030 according to Google, which has unveiled its analysis as the Albanese government considers new regulation for the technology.

The latest forecast adds to a crowded field of potential AI benefits, with figures varying by hundreds of billions of dollars depending on how the technology is defined and levels of adoption.

According to Google’s report, published Tuesday, its own AI tools are already delivering economic benefits of $71.6 billion to the Australian economy annually. Wider adoption of AI by businesses across more sectors would see this climb much higher.

Mel Silva
Mel Silva: Google Australia managing director

“$280 billion of economic benefits are expected for businesses in 2030 if they adopt AI-powered products and tools to improve and streamline their operations, gain new customer insights and identify new market opportunities,” Google Australia managing director Mel Silva wrote in a company blog post.

Google’s forecast is based on the sector-targeted effects of over 400 traditional AI applications and over 60 use cases related to generative AI.

A similar 2030 forecast by the Tech Council of Australia put the economic benefits of AI at $115 billion but did not include non-generative AI.

The federal government this year cited a McKinsey report that put the benefit of AI and automation in 2030 between $170 billion to $600 billion, as part of its work on responsible adoption and regulation.

A taskforce is now finalising options for a risk based regulatory system for AI that is expected to establish red lines for certain use cases and development. But Industry minister Ed Husic has insisted it won’t unnecessarily curtail adoption or undermine trust in the technologies.

Last month, Mr Husic launched four centres focused on helping local small to medium-sized enterprises safely adopt the technology.

But with the funding for these centres having existed for years and most of the government’s new investments focused on policy and regulation that still trails other nations, local industry is growing impatient.

There are also concerns that AI vendors are having an outsized impact on the policy debate, with some critics calling for a new dedicated regulator and levies on Big Tech firms to ensure the development pf “sovereign AI” systems.

Google’s new AI analysis, which also touts cybersecurity and climate change mitigation benefits from AI of $6.7 billion and $3.9 billion respectively, was prepared by Access Partnership.

The multinational tech advisory firm has delivered similar positive outlooks on AI for fellow Big Tech companies AWS and Microsoft.

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