Globally, the economic uplift could be to the magnitude of $15.7 trillion, more than the current output of China and India combined, according to a report by professional services firm PwC.
Within that increase, $6.6 trillion is likely to come from increased productivity, while $9.1 trillion is likely to come from benefits to consumers.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a collective term for computer systems that can sense their environment, think, learn, and take action in response to what they are sensing and their objectives. AI is rapidly evolving, with current technology including autopilots, digital assistants and chatbots.
In the economies of the GCC and Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia are expected to particularly benefit from the rise of AI, with PwC predicting it could contribute to almost 14 percent of UAE GDP by 2030. This is followed by KSA at 12.4 percent, the “GCC4” (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar) at 8.2 percent, and lastly by Egypt at 7.7 percent.
The report reveals there are untapped opportunities that could increase the impact of AI on the Middle East’s economies, if governments continue to push the boundaries of innovation and the implementation of AI across businesses and sectors between now and 2030.
“The future strategy of governments in the region, particularly in the UAE and KSA, indicate a strong push toward the development of AI technologies, for example Vision 2030 in KSA and the government’s AI Strategy in the UAE,” Richard Boxshall, senior economist at PwC Middle East, told Arab News.
The first wave of the AI revolution consists of largely known technological innovations that are either adoption-ready or are currently being fine-tuned for broader implementation. Beyond 2030, the scope of AI impacting both the economy and society overall will almost certainly increase, so it is important for the Middle East to be strategically placed in order to provide a springboard for the future, PwC said in a statement.
Fears of AI taking over human jobs have been voiced regularly but according to PwC this should not be a concern: “It is likely that in the coming years as AI is developed we will see a shift in the types of jobs performed by humans, but not necessarily a reduction in the number of jobs,” Boxshall said.
In the UAE, AI is at the forefront of the government’s strategic plans, with government representatives at the recent World Economic Forum touting how the country is embracing the technology.
At the sectoral level, the most significant gains in absolute terms are expected in the construction and manufacturing sectors, which are expected to account for almost a third of the entire benefits to the Middle East region, equivalent to almost $100 billion by 2030.