Growing With AI: The Big AI Question Every Business Needs To Ask

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Sometimes, a little change in perspective makes all the difference.

McKinsey had already shared its findings on generative AI, automation, and the workplace of tomorrow. But a new episode of The Future of Asia Podcast put certain numbers in a perspective I hadn’t considered.

“If we put generative AI together with the basket of automation technologies, we’re looking at a potential of $4.4 trillion of GDP growth globally,” says Lareina Yee, a McKinsey senior partner and chair of the McKinsey Technology Council. “That is larger than the size of the United Kingdom.”

Yee adds that generative AI, as a catalyst, is “pushing the frontiers of economic growth.”

“In 2017 we looked at how automation technologies affected GDP,” Yee says. “When we reran that analysis this year and looked at the difference that generative AI is making, we found that the ability to capture some of that GDP has advanced by a decade with generative AI.”

Yee was asked by episode host Debbi Cheong about the practical ways businesses could approach this “new digital age,” responding that it’s “all about the scale of deployment and having bold aspirations.” Yee noted how job opportunities have changed in the past five years — with a 13% drop across all job postings alongside a 15% increase in technology-related jobs — and that leadership has “a responsibility to help people to be able to manage and utilize these technologies.” 

“We can all tinker with technology as it’s fun and exciting; you can certainly spin up a pilot pretty quickly,” Yee says. “But the question leaders need to ask is, ‘How do we think about technology in relation to our growth strategy, and how can technology be the rocket ship to help us accelerate our business goals?’ When business goals are put together with the power of some of these emerging technologies, that’s where you get outsized results.”


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