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Generative AI: A quarter of Australia’s economy faces significant and imminent disruption

4 SEPTEMBER 2023: More than a quarter of the Australian economy will be rapidly and significantly disrupted by generative artificial intelligence (Gen AI) which means nearly $600 billion of economic activity faces Gen AI disruption.

The findings are part of a new report Generation AI: ​Ready or not, here we come! co-developed by Deloitte Access Economics and the Deloitte AI Institute to provide insights for Australian C-suite executives on Gen AI and its increasing popularity with students and employees. As well as conducting economic research, 2,550 individuals were surveyed including 2,000 current employees from across 18 industries and 550 students.

The report examines which sectors face the biggest and most imminent disruption and who is using Gen AI already. It also shares seven ‘no regret’ moves organisations can make to ensure they disrupt with, rather than get disrupted by Gen AI.

Deloitte Australia CEO Adam Powick said: “Leaders like me need to accept that this technology is real and recognise that our role is to harness and guide the responsible application of generative AI, rather than turning a blind eye or resisting change by banning its use. We need to rapidly educate ourselves on the potential and implications of generative AI in our settings and actively encourage adoption, innovation and the sharing of ideas and concepts across our organisations.”

Deloitte Access Economics Lead Technology Partner, ​John O’Mahony said: “Our inaugural Gen AI survey revealed students are almost twice as likely to use Gen AI than current employees. That’s why we named the report Generation AI: Ready or not, here we come! It speaks volumes – businesses need to prepare for this new generation of AI users – tech-savvy young people who are using Gen AI regularly to study, live and work better. They will no doubt change the way work gets done and test how emerging technology can transform businesses from within.”​

Deloitte Australia Lead Strategy & Business Design Partner and AI Institute Lead Dr Kellie Nuttall said: “Individuals naturally embrace tech faster than business – but Gen AI has seen this happen faster than ever before, broadening the gap between a business and its workforce. Yes, this leads to a disruptive threat; but it leads to an even bigger opportunity. Let’s not forget businesses are made up of lots of individuals, each with the power to disrupt.”

Other key report findings:

  • With 58% of students already using Gen AI, this group is almost twice as likely as employees to use this new tech​
  • 32% of employees survey respondents use some form of Gen AI for work purposes, ​but about two thirds of people using it believe their manager doesn’t know about it
  • 75% of employees are concerned with Gen AI’s use of personal, confidential or sensitive information
  • Australia ranks second-last out of 14 leading economies on its deployment of Gen AI​ according to one international study
  • 26% of the economy will be rapidly disrupted by Gen AI – including finance, ICT and media, professional services, education and wholesale trade​
  • So far only 9.5% of large Australian businesses (those employing over 200 employees) have officially adopted AI in their business. This drops to 1.4% among all businesses in Australia

Gen AI is exploding around the world and here in Australia. There are now more than 3,000 Gen AI tools available. The amount invested annually in AI by Australian businesses is expected to be seven times what it is today by 2030 and the number of daily users is expected to double in the next five years.