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How Industries are Adapting to Artificial Intelligence

3 min read

May 20, 2024

Artificial intelligence (AI) has long enhanced products and productivity, but the sudden, splashy public debut of generative AI has revolutionized how we interact with technology. It’s rapidly transforming industries worldwide, impacting an estimated 40% of jobs globally.

As AI – generative or otherwise – continues to advance, its influence spreads across a wide range of sectors, from manufacturing to healthcare. The way it’s being leveraged is equally diverse. Companies use it to automate repetitive tasks, augment human capabilities, and transform business models.

The Impact of Generative AI on the Workforce

One of the reasons generative AI has been so revolutionary is its ability to process language in a way that feels natural to users. Unlike previous forms of AI, which might require expert technical knowledge, anyone can interact with generative AI by simply typing in a query.

AI can enhance human capabilities by taking over mundane, repetitive tasks and freeing employees to focus on higher-level, more strategic work. AI-powered tools can encourage creativity, empower communication, and boost efficiency.

Current AI models are estimated to be able to automate tasks that take up 60% to 70% of employees’ time, enabling labor productivity growth of 0.1% to 0.6% annually through 2040. However, its potential benefits vary widely across different industries and roles.

While traditional AI is used to automate repetitious but relatively simple tasks, the accessibility and wide breadth of knowledge of generative AI means it can be used for more diverse applications. Both white-collar, knowledge-based jobs and more entry-level, rote work are vulnerable to AI. The top occupations reshaped by AI include:

  • Financial analysts, actuaries, and accountants
  • Regulatory compliance officers and auditors
  • Healthcare workers, including researchers and medical coders
  • Educators and academic administrators
  • Customer service agents and telemarketers

Frontline workers like nurses, teachers, laborers, and public safety officers, whose jobs require their physical presence, manual skill, and knowledge, may find AI enhanced their work. The technology may take over some time-consuming tasks but cannot replace their core responsibilities.

On the one hand, AI makes specific roles more efficient and productive. Conversely, many employees are concerned that AI will make their jobs obsolete. This displacement of workers is a significant concern that governments and companies are working to address through policies and reskilling initiatives.

5 Industries and Sectors Under AI Transformation

While the impact of AI is felt across the economy, certain industries are seeing particularly dramatic changes to their standard operations. Here’s a closer look at five key sectors:

Manufacturing facility


Manufacturers leverage AI across their operations, from quality assurance to logistics management. While AI may not drastically reduce the need for physical labor on the factory floor (where humans and robots now work side by side), it’s introducing new efficiencies throughout the production process.

school teacher in empty classroom


When generative AI launched, it immediately impacted educators and students, who grappled with the ethics of using it in the classroom. AI-powered tools make the academic experience more efficient and personalized, serving as adaptive tutors and specialized teaching assistants.

line at an ATM

Financial Services

From automating document preparation and validation to powering advanced analytics, AI tools make financial services faster and more secure than ever. Banks and financial institutions are integrating AI-driven services like chatbots and even personal advisors into their products for improved customer experiences.

older doctor holding a chart


AI is becoming an integral part of the healthcare journey, with non-frontline applications in administration, patient communications, and disease diagnosis. AI efficiently manages repetitive but necessary tasks like appointment reminders and medication refills and helps patients get timely care. Predictive health models have the potential to proactively identify health issues before they become serious problems, keeping the population healthier and preventing endemic issues.

Customer Service Experience

Customer Service

AI-powered chatbots and virtual agents are already used to answer many basic customer service inquiries and interactions. However, the latest technology can handle more complex customer journeys, with AI working alongside human representatives to provide the highest quality experience to clients by summarizing conversations, providing sentiment analysis, and suggesting resolutions. When using an AI tool in their conversations, customer support agents were nearly 14% more productive, with an even more dramatic 35% increase for the least experienced workers.

Of course, there are many more applications for AI across all industries, and more uses will arise as technology advances. However, as it becomes more ingrained in business, users must manage concerns around privacy, data usage, and ethics.

Global Efforts in AI Regulation and Policy

As AI continues transforming how we work, policymakers worldwide are working to find the balance between harnessing the technology’s benefits and mitigating its risks. An estimated 20% of workers are in high-AI exposure occupations, meaning that AI could replace activities central to their jobs.

In October 2023, the White House issued an executive order with guidelines for the responsible development and deployment of AI. In March 2024, the United Nations unanimously adopted the first global resolution on AI, calling for protecting human rights and personal data and monitoring AI systems for potential risks.

Meanwhile, the EU AI Act is a provisional agreement to regulate high-impact, general-purpose AI models and high-risk AI systems. Pending formal approval, this landmark legislation will take full effect in 2026, requiring companies to comply with transparency obligations and align their AI with EU copyright laws.

The future of work in an AI-driven world will evolve alongside the technology. While it holds immense promise to boost productivity, enhance human capabilities, and transform the workforce, it poses significant challenges as industries determine their role in their operations.

As government officials, business leaders, and technology developers work together to navigate these issues, one thing remains clear: AI in all its forms will continue to reshape the economy and workforce as we know it.

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