Generative AI and the future of work in America
Generative AI Poised to Add $4 4 Trillion to Global Economy: McKinsey
This success has allowed these drugs to progress smoothly into Phase 3 trials, significantly accelerating the drug development process. Across the 63 use cases we analyzed, generative AI has the potential to generate $2.6 trillion to $4.4 trillion in value across industries. Its precise impact will depend on a variety of factors, such as the mix and importance of different functions, as well as the scale of an industry’s revenue (Exhibit 4). Treating computer languages as just another language opens new possibilities for software engineering.
Over the course of 2022 and early 2023, tech innovators unleashed generative AI en masse, dazzling business leaders, investors, and society at large with the technology’s ability to create entirely new and seemingly human-made text and images. GPT-4, for example, was released in March 2023, following the release of ChatGPT (GPT-3.5) in November 2022 and GPT-3 in 2020. In the world of business, time is of the essence, and the fast-paced nature of generative AI technology demands that companies move quickly to take advantage of it. In this example, research scientists in drug discovery at a pharmaceutical company had to decide which experiments to run next, based on microscopy images. They had a data set of millions of these images, containing a wealth of visual information on cell features that are relevant to drug discovery but difficult for a human to interpret.
Generative AI could have the biggest impacts on high earners, not people in low-paid jobs, McKinsey analysis finds
An initial $11.0 trillion–$17.7 trillion could come from advanced analytics, traditional machine learning, and deep learning. And additional $2.6 trillion–$4.4 trillion of incremental economic impact could be added from new generative AI use cases, resulting in a total use-case-driven potential of $13.6 trillion–$22.1 trillion. However, generative AI’s impact is likely to most transform the work of higher-wage knowledge workers because of advances in the technical automation potential of their activities, which were previously considered to be relatively immune from automation (Exhibit 13).
When managers automate more of their administrative and reporting tasks, for example, they can spend more time on strategic thinking and coaching. Similarly, researchers could speed up projects by relying on automation tools to sort and synthesize large data sets. Although generative AI is still in the early stages, the potential applications for businesses are significant and wide-ranging. Generative AI can be used to write code, design products, create marketing content and strategies, streamline operations, analyze legal documents, provide customer service via chatbots, and even accelerate scientific discovery.
Gen AI could ultimately boost global GDP
Generative AI could have the biggest workplace impacts on high earners, and especially people in knowledge work with activities involving decision-making and collaboration, research by consultancy giant McKinsey has found. And Yakov Livshits we are optimistic that many of the jobs created will be highly skilled and well paid. To get there, though, the United States must invest in re-training and education to ensure that the workforce is prepared to succeed.
- To do this he argues that people need to develop “rugged flexibility,” to manage change most effectively.
- It can also help in debugging, which may improve the quality of the developed product.
- The total number of transitions through 2030 could be 25 percent higher than we projected a little over two years ago.2The future of work after COVID-19, McKinsey Global Institute, February 2021.
- For example, to build a generative model, a company may need PhD-level machine learning experts; on the other hand, to develop generative AI tools using existing models and SaaS offerings, a data engineer and a software engineer may be sufficient to lead the effort.
The CDO has the biggest role to play in supporting the Shaper approach, since the Maker approach is currently limited to only those large companies willing to make major investments and the Taker approach essentially accesses commoditized capabilities. One key function in driving the Shaper approach is communicating the trade-offs needed to deliver on specific use cases and highlighting those that are most feasible. While hyperpersonalization, for example, is a promising generative AI use case, it requires clean customer data, strong guardrails for data protection, and pipelines to access multiple data sources.
Founder of the DevEducation project
A prolific businessman and investor, and the founder of several large companies in Israel, the USA and the UAE, Yakov’s corporation comprises over 2,000 employees all over the world. He graduated from the University of Oxford in the UK and Technion in Israel, before moving on to study complex systems science at NECSI in the USA. Yakov has a Masters in Software Development.
The Great Attrition obscured deeper shifts
And during development, you can run a lot of safety compliance checks in the background in an automated fashion—but not the final check, since I firmly believe a human has to be the final point in that loop. But you can automate the path there, because we all know it’s a lot easier to modify a draft memo than writing one from scratch. And I think generative AI can help us a great deal with that initial tedious part of the work.
Generative AI requires a more deliberate and coordinated approach given its unique risk considerations and the ability of foundation models to underpin multiple use cases across an organization. You’ve probably seen that generative AI tools (toys?) like ChatGPT can generate endless hours of entertainment. Generative AI tools can produce Yakov Livshits a wide variety of credible writing in seconds, then respond to criticism to make the writing more fit for purpose. This has implications for a wide variety of industries, from IT and software organizations that can benefit from the instantaneous, largely correct code generated by AI models to organizations in need of marketing copy.
Other forces affecting future labor demand
Our research found that marketing and sales leaders anticipated at least moderate impact from each gen AI use case we suggested. They were most enthusiastic about lead identification, marketing optimization, and personalized outreach. All of us are at the beginning of a journey to understand this technology’s power, reach, and capabilities. If the past eight months are any guide, the next several years will take us on a roller-coaster ride featuring fast-paced innovation and technological breakthroughs that force us to recalibrate our understanding of AI’s impact on our work and our lives. It is important to properly understand this phenomenon and anticipate its impact. Given the speed of generative AI’s deployment so far, the need to accelerate digital transformation and reskill labor forces is great.
Companies need people who can integrate data sets (such as writing APIs connecting models to data sources), sequence and chain prompts, wrangle large quantities of data, apply LLMs, and work with model parameters. Replacing the lowest-wage workers with technology may not make economic sense, but at a certain wage level, the equation changes. In addition, some lower-wage jobs involve unpredictable physical work or customer-facing work that does not lend itself well to automation. Changing occupations, as opposed to finding a new job within the same occupation, often requires adding new skills and is more challenging.
The results depend on the quality of the model—as we’ve seen, ChatGPT’s outputs so far appear superior to those of its predecessors—and the match between the model and the use case, or input. But there are some questions we can answer—like how generative AI models are built, what kinds of problems they are best suited to solve, and how they fit into the broader category of machine learning. Hiring people with potential and training them on the job can be an answer to labor shortages—and give opportunities to people who need them. Instead of insisting on prior experience that matches the responsibilities of an open role as closely as possible, organizations can evaluate candidates on their capacity to learn, their intrinsic capabilities, and their transferable skills.