Artificial intelligence and automation are reshaping the way we work. Here’s how Australian businesses of all sizes can embrace automation to work more efficiently.
Artificial intelligence (AI) isn’t new. Spotify recommends music for us, Tesla has self-driving cars, and banks use AI to check that we’re not being scammed.
But recently, this technology has gone from being used only by big tech companies to something businesses of all sizes are using. Employers are increasingly adopting accessible AI and automation tools to drive business productivity and growth.
Of the 100 businesses surveyed for the 2023 Australia’s AI ecosystem momentum report, by the CSIRO’s National AI Centre (NAIC), 68% said they had implemented an AI plan. A further 23% said they planned to implement one in the next 12 months.
AI has gone from niche to normal.
Businesses across Australia are finding numerous ways to make use of AI and automation in their operations. Retailers are using AI to give customers tailored product recommendations. Health businesses are using automation to improve efficiencies in record management. Manufacturers are using AI to predict demand and automate procurement.
And since the launch of Chat GPT in late 2022, businesses have been finding more uses for generative AI. It can be a valuable tool for everything from writing and illustrating first drafts of emails, newsletters and presentations to reporting on industries and competitors, details Xero in its 2024 Business Trends Guide.
The benefits are clear to see, says NAIC director, Stela Solar. “Our research shows Australian businesses reported an average revenue growth of $361,315 for each AI-enabled solution that was implemented, regardless of which part of the business these efforts were targeted,” she says.
Implementing AI does come with challenges. What most business owners’ worry about are data security, hallucination (the technology’s tendency to fabricate untrue facts) and plagiarism, Xero says. And the NAIC report raises issues such as privacy, security and data quality, which can be made worse by talent shortages for implementing and operating AI systems.
The report also calls on business leaders to “develop and deploy responsible AI solutions to ensure accountability and mitigate the risk of unintended consequences”.
These considerations must be taken seriously as AI becomes more attractive to businesses. There’s certainly no going back from here; PwC estimates that AI could add US$15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030 through increased productivity and consumer demand for enhanced products.