LIVE FROM WORLD INTERNET CONFERENCE, WUZHEN, CHINA: The heads of IBM and China Mobile heralded the upside of AI, but expressed concerns over the need for responsible development of the technology, and the impact on data and computing infrastructure.

IBM chair and CEO Arvind Krishna encouraged all companies to embrace AI, arguing the capabilities enabled can provide a competitive edge.

“We’ve seen the first glimpses of what generative AI is going to do to upend just about every industry.”

He suggested every business should adopt digital staffing; AI applications and system monitoring; knowledge extraction; and routine work automation. 

Krishna believes AI can help address pressing challenges including new drug discovery, improved food production and restricting climate change.

The technology is projected contribute about $4.4 trillion to the global economy each year by 2030, he said.

China Mobile chair and CEO Yang Jie was equally bullish, pointing to the potential for AI to drive efficiency gains across traditional production environments.

He said expected increases in data and computing demand would require a new type of information infrastructure structure to handle data analytics, transmission, storage and processing.

Yang cited data indicating the percentage of enterprises using AI modules will rise from less than 5 per cent to more than 80 per cent over a three-year period.

He stated computing power has become an important fundamental asset, with the capacity in China expected to grow 50 per cent annually over next five years.

As companies deliver transformative technology to customers, Krishna believes they must also focus on responsibility, which is “as important as the innovations themselves”.

IBM is working closely with Chinese authorities and customers to build an “open and vibrant” AI ecosystem.