AI’s Potential to Reshape Australia’s Workforce and Pave the Way for a Four-Day Workweek

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A new report predicts that artificial intelligence could increase Australia’s lethargic productivity and lead to a four-day workweek for full-time professionals. Deloitte Access Economics estimated that AI-using employees saved five hours and eighteen minutes per week and predicted that AI would ‘instantly disrupt’ a quarter of the Australian economy.

If this trend continues, AI ‘could make the four-day working week a reality’ and consign the five-day week to oblivion. According to Deloitte Access Economics and the Deloitte AI Institute, individual employee output is likely to increase, as 32% of surveyed employees are already using AI at work, often without notifying their manager.

The report by Deloitte partners Kellie Nuttall and John O’Mahony stated, “Let’s be honest, this incredible productivity tool will cause disruption on a scale never before seen.” By increasing productivity, this creative intelligence is accelerating the progress of society as never before. Generative AI, in which humans pose queries to a computer model or assign it tasks, is currently viewed as a remedy for Australia’s low productivity during a cost-of-living crisis.

‘The productivity enhancements made possible by Gen AI could radically increase the numbers of employers implementing the four-day week – with the potential to minimise repetitive and time consuming duties,’ the report said.

AI is anticipated to instantaneously disrupt a quarter of the Australian economy, totaling $600 billion in gross domestic product, with the finance, information technology, media, and professional services industries most likely to be impacted.

The report stated, “Gen AI’s power lies in its monumental capacity to revolutionize work, business, and society at large by rapidly challenging and altering how we work, conduct business, live, and learn.” 

In fact, it is fostering a deeper relationship between humans and technology than the internet, the smartphone, and the cloud.

The low productivity of Australia has concerned economists for the past decade.  When workers produce less but receive large pay raises to mitigate for high inflation, companies are frequently forced to pass on the costs to consumers, thereby maintaining high inflation. 

Philip Lowe, governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, lamented in June that productivity had not increased in four years.

“Unfortunately, recent productivity growth has been lackluster,” he said.

In actuality, the level of output per hour labored in Australia is the same as it was in late 2019 at this time. Since the turn of the century, productivity growth has stagnated below 1%, well below the 2% average of the 1990s.

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AI Adoption in the Workplace: A Deloitte Survey Highlights Trends and Hidden Usage

The Deloitte survey of 2,000 employees and 550 college students revealed that 32% of respondents used AI for work, with nearly two-thirds doing so without informing their manager. In May, market researcher Ipsos discovered that young employees, ages 18 to 24, were three times more likely to use generative AI than mid-career workers, ages 45 and older.

AI can generate new data or create images or audio with input or guidance from humans. ChatGPT, a large language model software program, is the most advanced, whereas Snapchat’s AI app is so faulty that it still considers Queen Elizabeth II to be Australia’s chief of state a year after her death. 

Regarding the reduced workweek, France enacted a four-day, 35-hour workweek in 2000, but laborers regularly put in longer hours. If Australia did more to embrace this technological revolution, AI could alter this and make a four-day workweek a realistic possibility. 

According to the report, Australia ranks second-to-last among the 14 leading economies in its deployment of Gen AI.

The Deloitte report addressed concerns regarding “potential leaks of sensitive and personal information,” as well as “misuse or unethical applications.”

However, it did not address potential employment losses, instead using the word ‘disrupt’ 43 times to describe potential labor market changes.

 

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Source: Daily Mail

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