While some workers are worrying about how artificial intelligence (AI) could cause them to lose their jobs, a new study has shown that it could be a welcome boost to the economy.
Research from PwC indicates that UK gross domestic product (GDP) could be 10 per cent higher by 2030 as a result of AI, increasing individual household spending power by up to £2,300 per year.
This GDP increase would be the equivalent of an additional £232bn, making AI the biggest commercial opportunity in today’s economy.
“While we expect that the nature of jobs will change and that some will be susceptible to automation, our research shows the boost to UK GDP that AI-driven products and services will bring will also generate significant offsetting job gains, as well as boosting average real wage levels,” said PwC economist Jonathan Gillham.
Out of the UK regions, England stands to gain the most with GDP expected to be up 10.6 per cent. Scotland and Wales should see an 8.4 per cent and 9.8 per cent rise in their GDP respectively, while Northern Ireland is predicted to experience more muted gains of 5.4 per cent.
Wales, however, will see the smallest increase in household spending at just £1,883 per house.
The advantages will first be felt through labour productivity growth, while consumption-led benefits will follow as more AI-enhanced products come onto the market.
Meanwhile, competition within the market will increase, leading to growth in the value of AI goods and the amount people spend on them.
“AI will make everyday products better, more personalised and cheaper over the longer term, which we predict will fuel increased demand. Automating the more mundane and repetitive aspects of people’s jobs will also increase the UK’s productivity and boost real wages,” said Gillham.
PwC defines AI as computer systems which can “sense their environment, think, learn and then take action as a result”.
But the study also includes machines which replace manual and cognitive tasks that are not necessarily “intelligent”, recognising them as an important step towards more advanced intelligence.
China stands to be the country which gains most from AI with GDP expected to increase by 26.1 per cent, or $7 trillion (£5.48 trillion). North America will also be a big beneficiary, predicted to get a 14.5 per cent boost in GDP compared to northern Europe’s 9.9 per cent.