Each of these 3 things can be true at the same time.

  • the arrival of generative technologies like ChatGPT and MidJourney will have a profound, long-lasting impact on companies, industries, professions, and people;
  • new technologies like ChatGPT and others are massively overhyped and overplayed in terms of their overall significance;
  • technologies like ChatGPT and other generative technologies actually have very little to do with the overall impact and role of AI in the future, because what I come to call the “AI Megatrends are even bigger.

As a futurist, I've been covering AI for years. Like everyone, I am mesmerized by what is happening with technologies like ChatGPT, text-to-image generative technologies, and even more. I’m using the tools to accelerate my creativity, enhance my skills, develop my knowledge, and generate video, audio, and images. 

And AI is deeply relevant to what I do; I’ve been speaking about it on stage for years, and I find the current time to be absolutely fascinating in terms of the speed of this fascinating technological opportunity.

AI is Bigger Than You Think

And yet, I also know that AI also goes far beyond these current, fast-moving trends involving ChatGPT and other technologies. Here are some points to ponder.

  • Spending on AI in manufacturing is going to go from $6.6 billion in 2022 to $178 billion by 2030. Little of that has to do with ChatGPT.
  • Spending on AI in healthcare, medical sciences, and pharma was about $10 billion in 2022 but is expected to be between $87.4 billion and $177.4 billion by 20230. Little of this has to do with ChatGPT.
  • Spending on AI in insurance is going from $2-3 billion in 2022, to between $30.7 billion and $67.9 billion by 2030. Little of this has to do with ChatGPT.
  • Spending on AI in the construction industry? From $1.3-2.1 billion in 2022 to between $11.9 billion and $23.1 billion by 2030. Little of this has to do with ChatGPT.

I have similar numbers for virtually every other industry.

Do you see the trend here? 

I call these the AI Megatrends - the trends which are defining and reshaping entire industries. 

What’s Really Going On?

There are several ways to understand the impact of AI on your company, industry, association, or profession. 

That's why strategic clarity on the impact of AI is necessary. So you should understand that there are really two different types of trends unfolding, at speed.

Top of mind is the impact of 'Generative AI technologies' - the fast-moving trends involving ChatGPT and other generative technologies involving voice, video, and more; the impact of productivity, workflow, and other software-based opportunities built on top of these trends; and other new tools, products and search engine technologies. All of these trends will come to change the nature of the way we search, learn, interact, and think. It’s a new era of human-knowledge augmentation that is coming about through the emergence of personalized knowledge butlers; an acceleration in just-in-time knowledge through on-demand knowledge robots; the arrival of the always-available knowledge servant. The impact? As the saying goes – it’s pretty certain you won’t find your job being replaced by AI, but it might be replaced by someone using AI!

Another way to achieve strategic clarity is to go further and consider the "AI Megatrends" - the far-reaching, transformative, and disruptive AI concepts involving such things as predictive diagnostics, autonomous technologies, and machine vision, the hyper-connectivity of intelligent devices, the integration of AI into robotics and virtualized digital twin technologies, workforce, and process augmentation technologies, real-time risk monitoring, product reinvention, and transformation through embedded AI, and so much more! The end result of the Megatrends is sweeping change in every industry such as: changing the way we diagnose and treat medical conditions; how we assess and underwrite insurance risk using sophisticated AI risk management tools; how we manage our march to precision-farming using AI-driven autonomous technologies; how we are using AI throughout retail and manufacturing for deep supply chain analysis and inventory management.

The Megatrends

Where does the future of AI take us? Consider a few things like this:

  • In the world of insurance, spending on AI has to do with the fact that we are shifting the way that we assess and underwrite insurance risk from looking back in time to looking doing it in real-time or even looking forward. This is being done by using sophisticated AI risk analysis tools - and that's but one small aspect of the role of AI in the industry.
  • In the world of healthcare sciences and medicine, AI has already had a profound impact. We are embedding it into medical device technology, using it to identify disease earlier, undertaking highly specialized pharmaceutical research, and more. The opportunity going forward is massive.
  • In the world of construction, we are using AI in digital twin technology, virtualization of processes, heads-up display technology, and more - and in essence, using AI as one part of our toolkit to fundamentally; ly change how we build things.
  • In the world of manufacturing, it's about predictive diagnostics, process monitoring, layering AI into IIoT (The Industrial Internet of Things), and more. It's about the smart factory, the Factory of the Future, Factory 4.0.

None of these megatrends has anything to do with ChatGPT. They have everything to do with the AI Megatrends.

No doubt, ChatGPT, and large-language models are tremendously exciting - there is so much going on, and they will have a PROFOUND impact on everything we do going forward. But these AI megatrends are going to have an even bigger impact with the continued emergence and acceleration of new AI legal issues.

Achieving Strategic Clarity

AI is moving faster than fast! There’s a lot going on, but what you really need to be thinking about is a wide variety of strategic, leadership-oriented questions:

  • how will AI affect my industry?
  • what existential, big industry challenges might come my way that I am not aware of?
  • what impact will these new AI technologies have on my company or association?
  • what new strategic opportunities might exist?
  • what complex new challenges might the acceleration of AI present me with?
  • what skills issues are emerging that I need to start thinking about now?
  • what disruptive transformation might occur?
  • what new legal and risk issues are emerging that I must plan for?
  • what is the possibility for the emergence of new competitors that are building on AI-based disruption?
  • what barriers do I have in the way that might hold me back from adapting to AI-based change in my industry?
  • what experience and skill set should I be building?

In other words – it’s not AI that matters, it’s your strategic thinking around its emergence.

It’s always been bubbling around us, and yet now, is suddenly real.

Jim Carroll

Global Futurist Business Trends, Leadership & Innovation Expert