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The economic potential of generative AI: The next productivity frontier

Business leaders who understand the new technology and its potential effects are on the way to benefiting from the coming surge in global productivity.

Generative artificial intelligence is poised to unleash a powerful wave of productivity growth that will likely affect all industries and could add as much as $4.4 trillion annually to the global economy across the 63 use cases we studied. During a McKinsey Live webinar, McKinsey partners Lareina Yee and Michael Chui discussed the findings from the new research The economic potential of generative AI: The next productivity frontier on how companies should prepare to capture the benefits and mitigate the risks of generative AI.

Generative AI will affect all industries, with the largest gains arising from its deployment in retail and consumer-packaged goods, banking, and pharmaceuticals and medical products. While the technology will affect most business functions, four of them will likely account for 75 percent of the total annual value it can deliver: marketing and sales, customer operations, software engineering, and R&D.

The era of generative AI is just beginning, and fully realizing the enormous benefits of the technology will take time. But business leaders should begin implementing generative AI use cases as soon as possible rather than waiting on the sidelines as the performance gap between laggards and early adopters will widen quickly. The competitive advantage will go to the organizations that are first to use generative AI to accelerate their business priorities, innovations, and company growth.

Put simply, business leaders need to emerge themselves now in generative AI (anyone who can ask questions can use the technology) and be prepared to learn continuously.

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For more on this topic, read The economic potential of generative AI: The next productivity frontier, on, and Rewired: The McKinsey Guide to Outcompeting in the Age of Digital and AI, a book by Eric Lamarre, Kate Smaje, and Rodney Zemmel on how to implement a digital and AI transformation.

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