Short fuse, big bang: Top economists say AI is going to have a big impact on our lives

Disruption by generative artificial intelligence (GAI) will hit roughly a quarter of the Australian economy hard and fast, a report by top economists has highlighted.

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According to research by Deloitte Access Economics and Deloitte AI Institute, finance, ICT and media, professional services, education and wholesale trade were all earmarked for the “short fuse, big bang” buzz in technology disruption.

The five industries account for almost $600 billion, or about 26 per cent, of the Australian economy.

They are expected to face rapid and widespread transformation as they are industries that have already embraced technology and want to employ young people.

The report, which also sampled the opinions of 2550 individuals, found that 58 percent of students were already using GAI.

This makes them twice as likely to be used as employees.

John O’Mahony, lead technology partner at Deloitte Access Economics, said GAI needs to be tailored to a new generation of “tech-savvy young” users who already integrate technology into their lives.

“They will undoubtedly change the way they work and test how emerging technologies can transform businesses from within,” Mr O’Mahony said.

The research also found that 32 percent of employees were using technology for work, and in two-thirds of those cases, their managers were unaware.

International studies have found Australian businesses lagging behind in GAI adoption, and Deloitte research has also shown laxity.

Only 9.5 per cent of large Australian businesses and only 1.4 per cent of all sizes have officially adopted AI in their operations.

Generative AI uses machine learning to generate new and original content from large datasets, with the release of text generators like ChatGPT last year capturing the public’s imagination.

The tool is expected to help increase productivity by eliminating repetitive manual tasks and improving labor efficiency.

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