Artificial intelligence (AI) is certainly the most powerful new technology available today. This is probably the reason why the underlying discussion is frequently driven by fear. Hollywood has also contributed to this. Half-human, half-machine mutants resembling Frankenstein and Terminator are the spectres unleased by AI. However, as is often the case, Hollywood’s fantasy has little to do with reality.
AI is applied mathematics i.e. algorithms which are decades old. The roots of artificial intelligence go back to the 1950s. We finally first have the technology today as well as the data availability and computer capacity to implement and apply them. From a mathematical perspective, artificial intelligence comprises classification and prediction. The magic of AI first arises from the combination of data along with algorithms and business relevance. Now, does this sound frightening? No. There is no reason to be afraid of AI. But there are many reasons to make use of it.
Our economic growth in the year 2035 will equal three percent, assuming that we cleverly deploy artificial intelligence. If we get stuck at the current level of technology, economic growth will only be 1.4 percent. This calculation impressively shows the power and possibilities of AI. How did we arrive at these figures? This scenario assumes a 30 percent increase in employee productivity.
If employee productivity in Austria actually rises by 30 percent, every economic sector will profit from it, some more than others. The top performers will be industry, trade and agriculture. This is particularly relevant considering that production and trade are two sectors which account for a significant share of total Austrian gross value added in addition to their extensive potential for incorporating AI.
Our economic structure is particularly well positioned to benefit from AI and to rank among the champions in digitalisation. The regional champions i.e. the domestic flagship companies which enjoy our trust comprise one reason for this. The Austrian champions – the global market leaders which have successfully captured a niche on the world market – are yet another reason. This makes me very upbeat concerning our future.
By Michael Zettel, Country managing director Accenture Austria
This story initially appeared on ABA – Invest in Austria‘s website.