July 20, 2023
DHAKA – The advent of ChatGPT triggered huge enthusiasm for artificial intelligence (AI) technology and its immense potential. Some experts termed it as the most wondrous invention after internet in recent times. Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, said, “This will change our world.”
No wonder, business leaders are equally excited as they see it as an enabler for improving productivity and efficiency, thus saving costs. Resultantly, generative AI is making its way at an unprecedented speed to become one of the critical resources for companies across various industries.
A survey conducted by famous business magazine Forbes revealed that companies are already using AI technology in the areas like cybersecurity, fraud management, content production and customer support.
Companies have started using AI for instant messaging, emails, phone calls handling and product recommendations to enhance customer experiences. They are also applying this technology to improve production processes and process automation. Moreover, AI is being leveraged for data aggregation, idea generation, internal communications, preparing presentations and reports and writing codes.
According to Goldman Sachs, over the next 10 years, AI would potentially increase productivity by 1.5 per cent per year which in turn would help businesses increase profits by 30 per cent. Improvement in workforce productivity has far-reaching positive impacts on the global economy and annual global GDP will increase by 7 per cent over a decade.
The world is witnessing massive investments being made by companies to incorporate AI technology in their operations. As of 2021, global private investment in AI totalled $94 billion. However, off late, more and more investments are being followed in this area at a very high pace. Analysts estimate the total investment in AI could reach up to $300 billion by 2030.
There are, however, a few concerns as well.
One obvious worry is AI will reduce the workforce. A recent report by Goldman Sachs revealed some harsh possibilities when it comes to AI and the workforce. The report shows around 300 million positions worldwide could be exposed to automation from new AI advances.
The report also says that one-fourth of all work being done could be replaced by generative AI.
Another notable concern is the potential for providing misinformation to businesses or their customers which might cost companies heavily. Business leaders are also expressing apprehensions about data security and privacy in the age of AI.
These concerns are quite natural. Since the first industrial revolution, the world has witnessed significant changes in the field of science and technology, which resulted in radical changes in the way work used to be done.
Every time a new technology emerges, there is a fear of a reduction in the workforce. However, the world has also experienced that worker displacement from automation has historically been offset by the creation of new jobs. The emergence of new jobs due to technological advancement contributes significantly to the growth of employment.
It is assumed that savings from workforce cost, new job creation, and higher productivity raise the likelihood of economic boom although the analysts are not very certain about the timing.
The author is chairman and managing director of BASF Bangladesh Limited. Views expressed here are personal.