(Bloomberg) -- Australia is lagging international peers on the adoption of artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies, according to the Productivity Commission.
We are “pretty much toward the bottom of the pack of OECD nations,” Danielle Wood, chair of the commission, said at the AFR Workforce Summit on Monday, referring to Australia’s rich-world counterparts. “So there is a really important question, not just how does the government get the policy settings right and there’s a huge amount to be done there, but how do we shift closer to that frontier when it comes to technological adoption?”
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Australia’s central bank has persistently highlighted the country’s poor productivity growth among factors putting upward pressure on inflation. Economists say that is also one reason the Reserve Bank will be among the last of the dollar-bloc economies to begin cutting interest rates this year.
A 2023 government report predicted that Australia’s productivity growth would be 1.2% annually in the long-term, down from 1.5% in the same report two years earlier. The 0.3 percentage point drop in productivity will cut estimated real GDP over the next 40 years by almost 10%.
Wood said she was optimistic about the overall impact on productivity from AI adoption in fields such as healthcare, education and retail and “less concerned about some of the negative workforce fallouts.”
“On the jobs piece, we have been through these kind of waves of technological changes before,” Wood said. “It may be that this time is different to history, but certainly what history, at least to date has shown is every time we get one of these waves of change, net job creation is greater than job destruction.”
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