A survey of global CEOs found a quarter expect to cut over 5% of staff this year as generative artificial intelligence (AI) rolls out.

In a recently published report ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos, UK accounting giant, Pricewaterhouse Cooper (PwC) found that media, entertainment, banking, insurance, and logistics firms are most likely to cut jobs due to AI automation. These industries anticipate generative tools handling tasks currently done by white-collar workers. Meanwhile, engineering, construction, and technology companies are less likely (but not immune) to be hit by AI disruption.

Industry leaders estimate that inefficient systems and processes cost companies the equivalent of a $10 trillion productivity tax each year. However, roughly 60% of CEOs believe that by adopting generative AI tools that can automate routine tasks, businesses could greatly increase productivity.

The survey takes into account the responses of 4,702 international CEOs, and just under half (45%) believe their current businesses will be out of business in a decade if they do not adapt to emerging technology:

More than half (56%) of the CEOs who responded believe that technological change will drive the way their businesses operate for the next three years.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom. PwC’s Senior Partner, Kevin Ellis found reasons to be optimistic for those in the UK:

“Investment in GenAI does not appear to be at the expense of jobs, with UK bosses predicting more headcount increases than their counterparts overseas, reflecting the resources needed to adopt GenAI and the growth it could bring.”

What is generative AI?

Generative AI is a technology that allows for informational responses, media and content to be generated via text prompts to an artificial intelligence learning model.

Generative AI has been a topic the current U.S. administration wants to have a conclusive say in, ensuring that both workers’ rights and the benefits of the technology are applied ethically.

The U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said “President Biden has been clear — AI is the defining technology of our generation, and we must harness the power of AI for good while protecting people from its risks.”

One such risk has been identified ahead of the U.S. primary elections with state legislators moving to ban AI-generated images, deepfakes and other content that could imitate a candidate.

AI has many applications, but ensuring the safe and ethical use of the technology will no doubt be a dominating factor across 2024.

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