Artificial Intelligence (AI): Just another technology buzzword?
Everyone is talking about Artificial Intelligence (AI). From boardrooms to factory floors, from call centers to logistics fleets, and from governments to venture capitalists, Artificial Intelligence has become the hottest topic in town. However, this constellation of technologies that enables machines to sense, comprehend, act and learn is much more than the latest technology buzzword. In fact, AI might just be the single greatest technology revolution the world has ever seen.
Why conduct the first study on AI in Greece?
Organizations, industries, societies and countries as a whole have joined the race to explore AI, harness its benefits and become global AI-frontrunners. All evidence indicates that AI is here, and everyone must stand up and take notice.
In Greece, our study "Digital Greece: The Path to Growth" that we conducted in partnership with the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) in 2017, underlined the low contribution of digital to the country’s GDP and highlighted the importance of a national digital rotation.
Sharing the same anxiety and vision with Microsoft on the digitalization of Greece, we joined forces and author this study, which surfaces Greek public’s perception, hopes and fears on AI. It reveals the AI awareness and readiness of Greek organizations and estimates the projected economic growth that AI can infuse to the Greek economy over the next 15 years.
What do Greeks think and feel about AI?
The prospect of an AI-led future both excites and concerns Greeks. The fear of the unknown, the uncertainty and the unfamiliarity with AI, makes the majority of the respondents to feel confused, unsure or concerned, about what an AI-led future might entail. This uncertainty is offset by people’s views on the positive impact that AI can have on society. From personal assistants to medical preliminary diagnosis, Greeks see many ways in which AI can improve lives and work for the common good. At the same time, due to the rapid rise of AI, many questions and concerns remain open. How will AI affect us? Will we have less control over our lives? Will AI decrease the opportunities for humans and could we form relationships with machines in the same way we currently do with people?
Are Greek organizations AI-ready?
Similarly to the Greek public, Greek executives do recognize the strategic importance of AI and acknowledge it as a critical centerpiece for moving forward. It is sees as an "agent for change," however, they appear to be reluctant to actively invest in it. Several challenges are perceived to slow down their AI efforts: limited skills for implementing and using AI, IT infrastructure and low data quality being identified as the three top-of-mind ones.
Is AI a driver for Greece’s growth?
Our analysis reveals that AI can act as a new factor of growth for Greece over the next years. In fact, we find that AI has the potential to lead to a cumulative $195 billion GDP uplift over a 15-year period (from 2020 to 2035)—a powerful remedy to the limited growth experienced in the recent years.
What are the suggested next steps for policy makers and Greek captains of industry?
Policy makers must be prepared to address the challenges that go along with it. Namely, organizational, technological, political, ethical and social. To achieve this, policy makers shall gear their efforts and act toward the accomplishment of four goals:
- Accelerate Greece’s digital rotation.
- Prepare the next Generation for an AI future.
- Advocate a code of ethics for AI.
- Address the redistribution effects and ensure inclusion.
Similarly to policy makers, the Greek captains of industry should move from simply discussing to actively addressing the opportunities that arise from the systematic application of AI technologies across their organizations. To reap the benefits of AI deployment, business leaders must begin to invest now, in order to enable this set of technologies to mature and evolve in sync with the accelerated pace of change. For this, they shall:
- Step beyond automation toward innovation and true growth.
- Organizationally experiment and learn.
- Take data "off the bench" and into the game.
- Reimagine work and move from workforce planning to work planning.
- New-Skilling to collaborate with intelligent machines.