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AI changes far reaching, metaverse gaining traction

Artificial intelligence (AI) is likely to increasingly drive improved customer and employee experience after being “slow out the gate” in that area compared to other advantages it is delivering, Gradient Institute Director Catriona Wallace has told the Actuaries Institute summit.

“We will start to see a greater emphasis on AI-driven employee, customer experience, really as a result of the pandemic and the challenge organisations and brands are having with regard to retaining customers and retaining and attracting employees,” she said.

“We will see a lot greater use of AI and machine learning in our workplaces around employee wellbeing and productivity and customer wellbeing and sales and service.”

Dr Wallace says AI is the fastest growing tech sector and is likely to double in value within the next two years globally as it powers efficiencies, productivity and improved analytics and decision-making.

“This time we are in now, we have seen five years of advancement in AI within the last 12 months on the back of the pandemic,” she said.

Globally, it is forecast that 85 million jobs will be replaced by AI in the next couple of years, while more than 90 million jobs will also be created, she told the summit, with some 40% of all jobs in financial services likely to be automated in the next three to five years.

AI, big data and the expansion of the metaverse are part of an expansion of “Web 3” capabilities, which represents a “next step up” in what computers and software can do, Dr Wallace says.

Dr Wallace describes the metaverse as “a fully immersive virtual world” which offers more realistic experiences, reaching into areas ranging from corporate meetings to entertainment. It allows the purchasing of assets, such as real estate, within virtual worlds and has seen the growth of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Meetings conducted in the metaverse are the closest alternative to meeting in person, offering an improved experience compared to other web-based meeting tools, she says.

Dr Wallace, who founded Flamingo AI, sits on the Federal Government AI Action Initiative team and is an Adjunct Professor at the Australian Graduate School of Management, UNSW among other roles.

Gradient Institute, an independent research organisation that promotes responsible AI, has been commissioned by the NSW Government to complete a study on metaverse opportunities for government services and transactions.