Generative AI could add $115 billion to the Australian economy annually by 2030 based on a modelling scenario of ‘fast adoption’, according to a new report prepared by the Technology Council of Australia and Microsoft.
Even under a ‘slow’ adoption scenario, generative AI could add $45 billion to the economy annually, while medium adoption rates found $75 billion could be added to the economy each year.
Around 70 per cent of the additional value-add would be expected to come from productivity gains by workers, with 20 per cent stemming from quality gains and the final 10 per cent from new products and services.
The report on Australia’s Generative AI opportunity estimates that the technology can already automate 22 per cent of task-hours across the economy, and can simplify the same proportion of task-hours.
The report outlined four key challenges to generative AI adoption: technology capability, enterprise readiness, awareness and skills, and ensuring that responsible AI practices are conformed with.
To meet these challenges, the report outlined six key priorities, as well as suggesting 14 potential actions for adopters of generative AI across industry, and 16 potential actions for policymakers and regulators to promote responsible generative AI.
Some of the new products and services that generative AI could spur include conversational virtual assistants and interactive wearable health devices, according to the report.
The report highlights that generative AI could “usher in an era of new, innovative capabilities, contributing to Australia’s strategic focus on advanced manufacturing”, with the total economic opportunity in the sector estimated to be between $2 billion and $5 billion.
In particular, generative AI could enable “shorter design cycles and greater quality control”. If fully adopted, 30 per cent of a manager’s tasks in manufacturing could be automated, with a further 19 per cent that can be assisted.
“Since managers make up 17 per cent of the manufacturing workforce, generative AI is likely to have significant productivity impacts,” the report reads.
Technicians and trade workers can also use the technology to improve their ability to learn on the job. However, only around 20 per cent of manufacturers are using AI in any way, according to the CommBank Manufacturing Insights 2022 survey, as cited in the report.
In healthcare, the “burden of administrative tasks” could be free healthcare professionals to spend more time on patient-focused care while wearable device could be increasingly personalised “enabling proactive models of care through earlier diagnoses at scale”.
Tech Council chief executive Kate Pounder said the report highlights the potential generative AI has to support the Australian workforce.
“This isn’t just about technological advancement – it’s about Australia taking a leadership role on the global stage,” Ms Pounder said.
“The benefits identified in this report can truly catalyse growth and innovation, positioning us at the cutting edge and shaping a prosperous future for our nation.
“However, Australia must ensure swift and responsible adoption of generative AI to fully capture the depth and breadth of this opportunity.”
Microsoft chief technology officer Australian and New Zealand Lee Hickin noted that “building trust in this technology is critical to harnessing its innovative capabilities and enabling Australia to become a global leader in this space”.
The Department of Industry, Science, and Resources is currently consulting on potential reforms to Australia’s regulatory regime for the responsible use of artificial intelligence.
A parliamentary inquiry into the use of generative AI in education is also underway.
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