For decades, Italy has been facing a huge, still unsolved problem: increase productivity. This is one of the biggest braking factors for the country’s economy: in fact, Italy is struggling compared to other European countries such as France and Germany. This is also the reason why salaries in Italy are well below the European average.
What can companies do to be more productive? According to a study by The European House – Ambrosetti and Microsoft, the solution is to invest in generative AI.
Invest in generative AI to increase productivity
The study was presented on the occasion of The European House – Ambrosetti Forum “AI 4 Italy: Impact and perspectives of generative artificial intelligence for Italy and Made in Italy“realized by Microsoft and The European House – Ambrosetti.
A document that analyzes the impact that generative AI applications have and how this technology can support Italian companies. According to the document, generative AI can be the key to solving some of the main problems that Bel Paese has to deal with: productivity, as we said, but also the difficulty of finding talent and the unstoppable growth of the average age of the population.
This last problem should not be underestimated: By 2040, 3.7 million workers will retire in the country, which could result in a loss of 267.8 billion in added value. According to the analysis, generative AI could mitigate the situation and ensure the same level of economic well-being even without the support of these workers.
This is not the only benefit: it is estimated that generative AI technologies could add value equivalent to around 18% of GDP for the same hours of work 312 billion per year.
The areas of application? Everyone without distinction, although some will reap the benefits more quickly. As in the case of finance, healthcare and manufacturing, which for The European House – Ambrosetti and Microsoft – are the most mature for this type of technology.
However, to stimulate innovation, Italy must focus on the digitalization of companies, especially the many SMEs that represent the corporate fabric. The PNRR is a step in this direction, but more should be done. Also when it comes to training: there is a lot of talk about unemployment, but we must not forget that today there is a shortage of 3.7 million people with basic IT skills and 137,000 more ICT graduates would be needed to accelerate the development of new IT solutions. AI.
“Generative AI is a technological move that Italy cannot miss“, he explains Valerio De Molli, Managing Partner and CEO of The European House – Ambrosetti. “However, in order to realize its full potential, it is necessary to promote the digitalization of companies and public administrations and, above all, to disseminate basic and advanced digital skills in the country. Generative AI is in fact only the tip of the technology pyramid of digital transformation, and to reap all the benefits, it is necessary to work on the fundamental prerequisites: the digital skills of workers and the digital transformation of companies“.
The state of AI adoption in Italy
To date, half of Italian companies have already experimented with AI solutions, in most cases with success: 70% of those who have introduced AI in the company actually said they had achieved productivity benefits. Specifically, 55% of those who have adopted it say it has accelerated the retrieval of information, while 48% have used it to create virtual assistants. Almost half (47%) have brought more efficiency to their work processes through artificial intelligence. However, there are some obstacles: The first, as you can imagine, is this the difficulty of finding talent. But issues related to data protection and security also raise concerns: problems that need to be solved to convince more companies to integrate AI into their business processes.
““Generative Artificial Intelligence is an unprecedented opportunity for Italy,” he claims Giorgio Metta, scientific advisor and spokesperson for the research work. “According to the results of this research, the ubiquitous adoption of generative AI technologies will in fact be able to contribute to increasing Italy’s GDP by up to +18%: a potential that affects all productive sectors and also civil society, as a reservoir of truly exceptional growth for a country, which is struggling with stagnant productivity and negative demographic impact.” However, Giorgio Metta underlines “To exploit all the possibilities of generative artificial intelligence, it is necessary to invest vigorously and in a timely manner so as not to be unprepared for this new productive and social revolution.” In particular, it is crucial for Italy to immediately focus on investments in research , training and innovation and stimulating the creation of a public-private ecosystem capable of bridging the gap in international competition, which is now fiercer than ever.“.