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AI automation could take over 50% of today’s work activity by 2045: McKinsey


In just 22 years, generative AI may be able to fully automate half of all work activity conducted today, including tasks related to decision-making, management, and interfacing with stakeholders, according to a new report from McKinsey & Co.

The prediction came from the management consulting firm report on June 14, forecasting 75% of generative AI value creation will come from customer service operations, marketing and sales, software engineering, as well as research and development positions.

The firm explained that recent developments in generative AI has “accelerated” its “midpoint” prediction by nearly a decade from 2053 — its 2016 estimate — to 2045.

McKinsey explained that its broad range of 2030-2060 was made to encompass a range of outcomes — such as the rate at which generative AI is adopted, investment decisions and regulation, among other factors.

Its previous range for 50% of work being automated was 2035-2070.

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McKinsey’s new predicted “midpoint” time at which automation reaches 50% of time on work-related activities has accelerated by eight years to 2045. Source: McKinsey

The consulting firm said, however, the pace of adoption across the globe will vary considerably from country to country:

“Automation adoption is likely to be faster in developed economies, where higher wages will make it economically feasible sooner.”

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Early and late scenario midpoint times for the United States, Germany, Japan, France, China, Mexico and India. Source: McKinsey.

Generative AI systems now have the potential to automate work activities that absorb 60-70% of employees’ time today, McKinsey estimated.

Interestingly, the report estimates generative AI will likely have the “biggest impact” on high-wage workers applying a high degree of “expertise” in the form of decision making, management and interfacing with stakeholders.

The report also predicts that the generative AI market will add between $2.6 to $4.4 trillion to the world economy annually and be worth a whopping $15.7 trillion by 2030.

This would provide enormous economic value on top of non-generative AI tools in mainstream use today, the firm said:

“That would add 15 to 40 percent to the $11.0 trillion to $17.7 trillion of economic value that we now estimate nongenerative artificial intelligence and analytics could unlock.”

Generative AI systems are capable of producing text, images, audio and videos in response to prompts by receiving input data and learning its patterns. OpenAI’s ChatGPT is the most commonly used generative AI tool today.

McKinsey’s $15.7 trillion prediction by 2030 is more than a three-fold increase in comparison to its $5 trillion prediction for the Metaverse over the same timeframe.

Related: The need for real, viable data in AI

However, the recent growth of generative AI platforms hasn’t come without concerns.

The United Nations recently highlighted “serious and urgent” concerns about generative AI tools producing fake news and information on June 12.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg received a grilling by United States Senators of a “leaked” release of the firm’s AI tool “LLaMA” which the senators claim to be potentially “dangerous” and be possibly used for “criminal tasks.”

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