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Artificial intelligence to have positive economic effects for industries and society: The Economist – Microsoft Study

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has published the results of a Microsoft-sponsored study entitled, “Intelligent Economies: AI’s Transformation of Industries and Society.” The study draws on a survey of more than 400 senior executives working in various industries, including financial services, healthcare and life sciences, manufacturing, retail and the public sector. The survey was conducted in eight markets: France, Germany, Mexico, Poland, South Africa, Thailand, the UK and the US.Essentially, the study explores the transformative potential of artificial intelligence (AI) on markets and societies across the developed and developing worlds.

AI is on course to transform the global economy—and organizations around the world have high hopes for its potential. As per the report, in 2017 the global economy recorded its best performance in six years and looks set for sustained growth in 2018. The Economist Intelligence Unit expects global growth of 3.8%, surpassing 2017’s growth rate of 3.7% and well above 2016’s 3.2%.

Key findings of the study include-

  • Businesses expect AI to have a positive impact on growth (90%), productivity (86%), innovation (84%) and job creation (69%) in their country and industry
  • Nine out of ten executives from around the world (94%) describe AI as important to solving their organizations’ strategic challenges
  • More than one in four (27%) say their organizations have already incorporated AI into key processes and services, while another 46% have one or more AI pilot projects under way
  • Despite often-expressed concerns about job displacement, respondents were broadly optimistic that AI will create new roles. Overall, nearly six out of ten (59%) believe that AI will increase wages and 56% actually see a boost to the employment rate in their country or industry
  • Surprisingly, developing economies are significantly more bullish about the positive effects of AI, with 83% of them expecting an increase, compared with just six out of ten respondents in advanced economies
  • Financial services respondents report particularly high levels of virtual assistant adoption (48%), but they’re also using predictive analytics (38%) and machine learning (36%). The public sector, meanwhile, has particularly high levels of machine learning adoption (34%)

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