Imagine standing on the brink of the internet revolution or witnessing the first smartphone revolutionize how we interact with the world. That’s the scale of transformation we’re experiencing with artificial intelligence (AI), specifically with a subset called generative AI, which is reshaping industries and workforces just as profoundly as the web and mobile did in their nascent days.
In the last year, AI has leaped from tech labs to the boardroom, much like the early days of the internet when it jumped from a network for a few to a global phenomenon in the late 1990s, or like mobile technology when smartphones transitioned from luxury items to necessities in the late 2000s. A McKinsey Global Survey from mid-April 2023 shows that one-third of organizations have embraced generative AI, a rapid uptake for a technology that is still in its early stages. source
We're not just talking about robots or science fiction; it's a new breed of AI that creates content—from text to images—almost like a human. This type of AI has captured the business world's imagination, with companies rushing to invest in it much like businesses scrambled to establish an internet presence in the 1990s or develop mobile apps in the 2010s.
The progress is significant, and the dates and milestones mark the swift evolution of the AI revolution. Just like the code red memos that shot across corporations with the dawn of the internet, prompting companies to go "online" or risk oblivion, today's C-suite executives are quickly integrating generative AI into their strategies, with nearly a quarter using it personally. It's reminiscent of the rush to adopt mobile technologies when the iPhone was launched in 2007, changing our world forever.
In the tech sector, companies that had already been using traditional AI tools are now leading the charge in exploring generative AI's potential. These AI high performers—businesses attributing at least 20% of their earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) to AI—are integrating gen AI into their operations, much like companies in the early 2000s that integrated the internet into their core business saw exponential growth.
But it’s not just about economic gains. The workforce is also on the cusp of a massive shift. Just as jobs evolved with the birth of the internet and mobile, generative AI is poised to reshape roles and spur significant reskilling efforts, with nearly four in ten businesses anticipating over 20% of their workforce will undergo reskilling.
The year 2023 could be to generative AI what 1995 was to the internet or what 2007 was to smartphones—a year of pivotal change, laying the groundwork for how we interact with technology. With the rise of AI, we're seeing a convergence of nostalgia and innovation, where the lessons of the past inform the trajectory of the future. It's a revolution unfolding before our eyes, one that promises to redefine the landscape of business, creativity, and technology itself.