Generative AI could boost Irish GDP by €45bn, Google-commissioned report claims

Tech giant, which pushing hard on AI, says technology could boost GDP by 8% over a decade

A new wave of generative artificial intelligence tools could help boost Ireland’s economy by up to €45 billion a year within 10 years, a new report has claimed.

The 8 per cent additional value to Ireland’s gross domestic product (GDP) will come from additional productivity and efficiency supported by the new technology, a Google-commissioned report claims.

The study, conducted by Implement Consulting, found Irish businesses would need to adopt the technology on a widespread basis if the full value is to be realised.

Delaying capitalising on the new technology by five years could cut that potential growth in GDP to 2 per cent, or €8 billion to 10 billion.

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Google has committed billions of euros to AI tech, as it takes on Microsoft and OpenAI, which for now is seen as the leader in the new technology.

Generative AI is expected to provide assistance to about two-thirds of jobs in the country, with the technology most useful to those in office-based positions through the automation of a limited share of tasks, creating content such as text, code and images, and collaborating on complex problems.

However, about 6 per cent of jobs are likely to be displaced by generative AI, with around half of their tasks open to automation. These include call centres and data entry.

Although there will be some impact on lower-skilled jobs, the report found that generative AI could also help address the skills gap.

“Ireland should seek to leverage the national presence of multinational tech giants by incentivising partnerships and mentorship programmes between these corporations and SMEs,” said Martin Thelle, partner at Implement Consulting Group, who authored the report.

“This can facilitate knowledge transfer, provide access to advanced AI tools and resources as well as encourage the development of AI-based business models in the start-up ecosystem.”

The research found that about 8 per cent of Irish companies had adopted at least one type of AI technology last year, in line with EU averages, with more than half of business leaders saying that AI had already improved staff productivity and generated new ideas.

The largest economic potential is in Ireland’s manufacturing sector, which could boost annual productivity growth by 1.2 per cent at its peak, with productivity in the service sector also expected to see a boost.

About 28 per cent of jobs in Ireland – manual labour, construction, cleaning, and human-to-human tasks, such as personal care and food services – are expected to remain unaffected by the new technology.

The report was launched in conjunction with Google’s new AI education training pillar for SMEs in Ireland, offered as part of its digital upskilling programme.

The resource, which is delivered in partnership with Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices, is free of charge and offers on-demand training, educational resources, and tools for SMEs.

“For the past 20 years, Ireland has been at the forefront of the digital age, embracing new technology and leading innovation in Europe. Today we are at an inflection point and we have an immense opportunity to ensure Ireland remains at the heart of this next transition to AI,” said Vanessa Hartley, head of Google Ireland.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist