AI to rapidly disrupt Australian economy: Deloitte

Roughly a quarter of the Australian economy will be hit hard and fast by generative artificial intelligence (GAI) disruption as highlighted in a report by top economists.

Finance, ICT and media, professional services, education and wholesale trade were all earmarked for "short fuse, big bang" disruption from the buzz technology, according to Deloitte Access Economics and Deloitte AI Institute research.

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

They are expected to face rapid and extensive transformation partly because they are the industries most young people who have already embraced the technology want to work in.

The report, which also sampled the views of 2550 individuals, found 58 per cent of students are already using GAI.

This makes them almost twice as likely to be using it as employees.

Deloitte Access Economics lead technology partner John O’Mahony said businesses needed to prepare for the new generation of "tech-savvy young people" GAI users who have already integrated the technology into their lives.

"They will no doubt change the way work gets done and test how emerging technology can transform businesses from within,” Mr O’Mahony said.

The research also found 32 per cent of employees were using the technology for work and in two-thirds of those cases, their manager was not aware.

International studies have pegged Australian businesses as laggards in GAI adoption and the Deloitte research also found sluggish take-up.

Only about 9.5 per cent of large Australian businesses and just 1.4 per cent of firms of all sizes have officially adopted AI into their operations.

Generative AI uses machine learning to produce new and original content from massive datasets, with the release of text generators such as ChatGPT last year capturing the public's imagination.

The tool is expected to help boost productivity by swallowing up repetitive manual tasks and improving worker efficiency. 

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