As a technology leader in debt collection, PAIR Finance has been driving the development of artificial intelligence (AI) for years and monitoring its overall technological progress. In our series « Spot on AI », we continuously report on artificial intelligence from a fintech’s perspective, provide insights into our own technology at PAIR Finance and share our assessment of numerous new developments.
Today, we look at the technology of the moment that is changing everything: generative AI. For businesses, it means significant opportunities for cost savings and increased revenue on the one hand, and big tasks that need to be done to survive alongside the competition in the long term on the other. We show what consumers want from companies, what companies want to use generative AI for and what the biggest challenges are for companies at the moment.
Generative Artificial Intelligence is a technology that uses Deep Learning and Neural Networks to create new, original content such as text, images, code or video. This contrasts with other types of AI that focus on classifying or identifying content. Well-known tools that use this new technology include the Large Language Models (LLMs) ChatGPT, Bard, Llama 2, Dall-E or Jasper. Their cross-industry disruptive potential and accessibility make generative AI the key technology of our time. LLMs automate tasks of any kind and can be applied by anyone without the person having to understand the technology behind it. This is one of the reasons why generative AI is expanding so rapidly.
The development of AI is as fundamental as the creation of the microprocessor, the personal computer, the Internet, and the mobile phone. It will change the way people work, learn, travel, get health care, and communicate with each other.Bill Gates
Generative AI tools are being used more and more privately, but are not yet driving rapid general AI adoption in companies. Only one-third of all 1,684 respondents to a recent McKinsey survey say their company already regularly uses generative AI in at least one business area. The most frequently cited areas are marketing, sales, product and service development, customer care and back-office support.
According to the latest Ifo Business survey, only 13.3 percent of companies in Germany use AI. The survey does not reveal the proportion of generative AI used by the 13.3 percent. A further 9.2 percent of companies are still planning to use AI at all. A full 40 percent of companies in Germany do not see artificial intelligence as an issue for them at all. This is partly due to the nature of the industry (for example, AI is not an issue at 60 per cent of construction companies), but also to concerns about data protection.
According to a recent Capgemini survey, 43 percent of consumers want companies to integrate generative AI into their interactions with customers, for example for financial advice. 70 percent of consumers already use generative AI tools to search for product and service recommendations. 64 percent – regardless of age group – say they eventually make purchases based on these recommendations. 73 percent say they trust content created by generative AI.
The economy has high expectations and sees above all the benefits of modern technology. Three out of four managers worldwide, for example, believe that generative AI will bring benefits to their company (Capgemini). Furthermore, almost all managers surveyed (96 percent internationally and 99 percent in Germany) see it as a key technology for the board of directors. The managers surveyed expect that the successful integration of generative AI into IT infrastructures can lead to an increase in turnover of eight percent and a reduction in costs of seven percent in the next three years.
The three main benefits from the perspective of German companies are lower costs, increased efficiency and better business processes, according to a representative Civey survey commissioned by Microsoft. However, the goals companies pursue with generative AI also depend on whether they are already increasingly using it today or are still planning to do so. The State of AI Report 2023 by McKinsey shows that companies that already rely heavily on AI are less interested in saving costs than other companies. AI high performers are twice as likely as others to say they are using AI to open up new business areas or sources of revenue.
Overall, the trend is that AI is no longer seen by companies as a pure cost-saving opportunity, but as a revenue driver. 69 percent of the more than 1,500 respondents to an S&P survey published in August 2023 cite revenue-driven factors as the motivation for AI projects in their companies. In addition, the survey results show: The more companies already work with AI, the more they focus on AI’s potential to increase revenue.
Generative AI will have a significant impact on all industries worldwide because it has the potential to automate work activities. According to McKinsey, even activities that today still take up 60 to 70 percent of employees’ time. According to the same study, generative AI can theoretically enable an annual productivity increase of 2.6 to 4.4 trillion US dollars. By comparison, the UK’s GDP in 2021 was around $3.1 trillion.
Accenture has conducted a study comparing 22 different sectors to find out in which industry the key technology can change the most. The banking industry is at the top because generative AI in banks could significantly change around 72 percent of the work there. However, changes are to be expected in all industries because everything that is transmitted by voice, whether documents, emails, chats, video or audio recordings, can be used to set the next optimisation or innovation in motion with the help of generative AI.
A big question that is always discussed in relation to generative AI is: will this key technology take away jobs? The International Labour Organization concludes in a recent study that jobs are more likely to be added than displaced by generative AI worldwide, because it does not completely take over a role, but automates certain tasks. For this to succeed, however, companies must invest in the AI education of their employees.
According to a recent S&P survey of 1,500 AI decision-makers, data management is currently the most frequently cited obstacle for companies wanting to use AI at work, at 32 percent. This is followed by security challenges (26 percent) and computing power (20 percent). Corporate data is often scattered all over the place, in different formats, unlabelled and uncatalogued. Therefore, many companies are not yet ready to make the best use of AI.
Generative AI is without doubt the key technology of our time. It can make companies in all industries more productive and have a positive impact on work efficiency by automating everyday tasks. Consumers trust generative AI and let it guide their purchasing decisions. Instead of just saving costs, companies that are already using AI today tend to use it to drive their own revenue. Data management is currently the most frequently cited obstacle for companies that want to use AI. Companies that catalogue their data, train their employees and further develop their own technology can set the course today for a good long-term position on the market.
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