Report: Generative AI might contribute $5b to Australia’s manufacturing industry by 2030

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A new report has found that Australia’s manufacturing sector could unlock billions of dollars in value by 2030 if it accelerates the responsible adoption of generative artificial intelligence (GAI), opening up significant economic and productivity opportunities in the country. 

The report, titled, “Australia’s Generative AI Opportunity,” is a collaboration between Microsoft and the Tech Council of Australia, as revealed in a press release. 

It shows that GAI may contribute between $45 billion and $115 billion to the Australian economy per year by 2030 through two key channels, such as enhancing existing businesses and enabling the creation of new products and services. 

The report also stated that manufacturing has been highlighted as one of four key industries in Australia ready to profit from GAI. 

According to the estimate, by 2030, the technology might contribute between $2 billion and $5 billion to the manufacturing industry. 

The analysis, according to Kate Pounder, CEO of the Tech Council of Australia, underscored the immense economic potential of GAI for the manufacturing industry. 

However, she warned that if the sector does not expedite its digital transformation, it risks lagging behind other businesses in the use of modern technology. 

“Generative AI has the potential to redefine the industry, playing to Australia’s strengths of producing high-quality and highly technical products. But the sector needs to accelerate its digital transformation to make the most of this significant opportunity,” Pounder added.  

Furthermore, the paper indicated that GAI could automate around 30 per cent and augment 19 per cent of jobs for production managers, freeing up time for difficult and strategic operations. 

It can also improve on-the-job learning for technicians who make up 27 per cent of the sector’s employment and tradespeople through fast upskilling and training. 

However, the paper identified many hurdles that the sector would face in adopting GAI, citing that while 72 per cent of manufacturers raised their digital transformation efforts during the COVID pandemic, only 20 per cent today employ AI. 

If this is not addressed, the industry’s slow investment in digital technology may cause it to lag behind other sectors in realising the full potential of GAI. 

Taking advantage of Australia’s comparative advantages in digital technology is critical to accelerating this partnership, according to the report. 

It includes a huge and highly skilled tech workforce, significant investment in digital infrastructure, and widespread use of cloud computing. 

The paper concluded by outlining the strategic steps that adopters and politicians must take in order for Australia to overcome these obstacles and emerge as a world leader in GAI. 

The opportunity and goal for GAI should be defined, as should readiness assessments, incentives for adoption and innovation, workforce upskilling, and the creation of ethical AI governance frameworks, the report noted.