Generative AI to disrupt $600 billion in economic activity

18 September 2023 3 min. read

Generative AI, which allows users to easily create text, images, videos, and other media with minimal input, is set to disrupt a $600 billion cross-section of the Australian economy. That is equal to around a quarter of the country’s total economy.

The changing landscape will be felt across many different industries, according to a report from consulting firm Deloitte, with some sectors experiencing generative AI adoption as a ‘big bang’. Those include financial services, ICT and media, education, professional services, health, and government services, among others.

According to the study, students were found to use generative AI more than employees. 58% of students reported using AI tools while only 32% of employees did the same.

Gen AI Digital Disruption Map

With 61% of the students surveyed being under 35, as compared with only 44% of employees, it becomes clear that younger people are using AI tools more. In fact, among the employees surveyed, those under 24 were three times more likely to use generative AI.

“Considering that in the near future, every graduate will be a generative AI native, organisations should anticipate delivering training and workplace experiences using AI to attract and retain this new,” the report notes.

Employees that use generative AI to facilitate their workflow can save over five hours per week, according to Deloitte. This could change the lives of millions of workers by making the ever-elusive four day week a reality.

While some industries – around 26% of the Australian economy – can expect rapid and explosive changes from AI adoption, other industries will likely see a longer building up. Regardless, most industries should be ready for serious changes in the short term.

The share of employees first using Gen AI is increasing every month

The number of employees using generative AI is increasing every month, going from 10% to 35% just this year, according to the report. Despite that growing figure, a majority of employees have concerns about AI.

For example, three quarters of employees reported that they were concerned about cybersecurity risks and 73% said they were concerned about AI getting things wrong. There have been many reports of factual errors in the content created by generative AI tools, sometimes known as ‘hallucinations’.

Concerns about Gen AI risks

“We need to find a balance between mitigating the risks of this technology – and these risks are real – and unlocking and empowering ideas for improving productivity, quality and the way we work,” said Adam Powick, CEO of Deloitte.

With a growing number of students and young people using AI, organisations should be ready for new talent that is comfortable using generative AI in the years ahead. Despite this imperative, the study found that 30% of businesses have yet to take any appreciable measures to prepare themselves and their employees for gen AI adaptation.

In addition to that, 68% of respondents reported using AI tools without even informing their organisations. The majority of respondents also reported that they believe AI is here to stay and that they look forward to upskilling in the near future.

Generative AI technology is exploding in popularity, with services like ChatGPT amassing some of the largest numbers of users in the shortest time period of any new online platforms. ChatGPT currently has around 100 million active users, with one million users getting aboard in just their first week after launch.