McKinsey releases special report on generative AI – these are the key findings

June 14, 2023

AI McKinsey

McKinsey published a report on generative AI, which includes technologies like ChatGPT and Stable Diffusion. They predict the technology could contribute $4.4tn to the global economy annually. 

The report forecasts that half of labor hours will be automated between 2030 and 2060, representing a jump forward from McKinsey’s previous forecast of 2035 to 2075. 

McKinsey states, “Generative A.I. can fundamentally alter the structure of work, enhancing the capabilities of individual workers by automating certain tasks they perform.”

Key points include:

  • Generative AI could potentially add $2.6 to $4.4tn annually across 63 use cases analyzed.
  • Around 75% of that is attributed to 4 areas: customer operations, marketing and sales, software engineering, and R&D.
  • Generative AI will impact all industry sectors, with banking, high-tech, and life sciences experiencing the greatest impacts. 
  • Generative AI technologies have the potential to automate up to 70% of work activities currently performed by employees.

Some bold predictions, but they broadly correlate with other reports from Goldman Sachs, which believe AI will increase global GDP by 7%, and PwC, which predict AI will contribute $15.7tn to the global economy by 2030, boosting China’s GDP by 26% and North America’s by 14.5%.

McKinsey also highlights regulatory and societal challenges, including privacy concerns that could hinder adoption in regulated sectors like finance and banking. 

Regarding mitigating AI’s risks, the report provides only questions: “Will they infringe upon intellectual property due to “plagiarism” in the training data used to create foundation models? Will the answers that LLMs produce when questioned be accurate, and can they be explained? Will the content generative AI creates be fair or biased in ways that users do not want by, say, producing content that reflects harmful stereotypes?” 

Expert reactions to AI growth predictions are mixed. For instance, David Autor, a professor of economics at MIT, said generative AI was “not going to be as miraculous as people claim…We are really, really in the early stage.” 

AI has only just truly surfaced in the public consciousness, and there’s no doubt that the most exciting and perilous milestones are yet to come.

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Sam Jeans

Sam is a science and technology writer who has worked in various AI startups. When he’s not writing, he can be found reading medical journals or digging through boxes of vinyl records.


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