Artificial Intelligence, The Next Digital Frontier, McKinsey Global Institute Study

McKinsey Global Institute Study,  Artificial Intelligence, The Next Digital Frontier (80 pp., PDF, free, no opt-in) published JUNE 2017


Jacques Bughin | Brussels
Eric Hazan | Paris
Sree Ramaswamy | Washington, DC Michael Chui | San Francisco
Tera Allas | London
Peter Dahlström | London
Nicolaus Henke | London
Monica Trench | London

McKinsey Global Institute published an article summarizing the findings titled   How Artificial Intelligence Can Deliver Real Value To Companies.


In this independent discussion paper, we examine investment in artificial intelligence (AI), describe how it is being deployed by companies that have started to use these technologies across sectors, and aim to explore its potential to become a major business disrupter. To do this, we looked at AI through several lenses. We analyzed the total investment landscape bringing together both investment of large corporations and funding from venture capital and private equity funds. We also reviewed the portfolio plays of major internet companies, the dynamics in AI ecosystems from Shenzhen to New York, and a wide range of case studies. As part of our primary research, we surveyed more than 3,000 senior executives on the use of AI technologies, their companies’ prospects for further deployment, and AI’s impact on markets, governments, and individuals. This report also leverages the resources of McKinsey Analytics, a global practice that helps clients achieve better performance through data. The research was conducted jointly with Digital McKinsey, a global practice that designs and implements digital transformations.

In addition to identifying a gap between AI investment and commercial application, which is typical of early technology development curves, we found that the new generation of AI applications is based on the foundation of digitization. Leading sectors in digital tend to be leading sectors in AI, and these are predicted to drive growth. We also found that AI has the potential to accelerate shifts in market share, revenue, and profit pools—all hallmarks of digitally disrupted sectors. This report leverages two MGI analyses of digitization, Digital America: A tale of the haves and have-mores, published in December 2015, and Digital Europe: Pushing the frontier, capturing the benefits, published in June 2016.

These reports introduced the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) Industry Digitization Index, which combines dozens of indicators to provide a comprehensive picture of where and how companies are building digital assets, expanding digital usage, and creating a more digital workforce. This report also builds on MGI’s work on advanced analytics, The age of analytics: Competing in a data-driven world, published in December 2016, and on automation, A future that works: Automation, employment, and productivity, published in January 2017, as well as Artificial intelligence: Implications for China, published in April 2017; and an April 2017 Digital McKinsey report, Smartening up with artificial intelligence (AI): What’s in it for Germany and its industrial sector?

This latest research has been led by Jacques Bughin, an MGI senior partner based in Brussels; Eric Hazan, a member of the MGI Council and a McKinsey senior partner based in Paris; Sree Ramaswamy, an MGI partner based in Washington, DC; Michael Chui, an MGI partner based in San Francisco; Tera Allas, an MGI visiting fellow in London; Peter Dahlström, a McKinsey senior partner in London; Nicolaus Henke, a McKinsey senior partner based in London; and Monica Trench, a McKinsey consultant based in London. The project team comprised Mathilde Castet, François Allain des Beauvais, Lindsay Macdonald, Oleg Pynda, Dariusz Smolen, and Jordan Ward. Sincere thanks go to Timothy Beacom, April Cheng, Paul-Louis Caylar, and Hugo Weber.

We would also like to thank MGI senior editor Mark A. Stein; Matt Cooke, MGI director of external communications; MGI visual graphics specialist Marisa Carder, designer Margo Shimasaki, and infographic designers Richard Johnson and Jason Leder; MGI editorial production manager Julie Philpot; and Deadra Henderson, MGI manager of personnel and administration.

This report builds on a considerable body of expertise within MGI and McKinsey. We particularly want to acknowledge Tamim Saleh and Brian McCarthy from McKinsey Analytics, Louise Herring and Casper Louw for contributing to the retail sector case study, Arnout de Pee and Mike Munroe for contributing to the electric utilities case study, Richard Kelly for contributing to the manufacturing case study, Martin Markus and

Sri Velamoor for contributing to the health care case study, and Jake Bryant, Mike Munroe, and Jimmy Sarakatsannis for contributing to the education case study. We would also like to thank all previous MGI teams that produced reports on digitization, automation, big data and analytics, the internet of things, and online talent platforms.

Our research was also enriched by insights from Eric Goubault and Jesse Read from Ecole Polytechnique.

This report contributes to MGI’s mission to help business and policy leaders understand the forces transforming the global economy, identify strategic imperatives, and prepare for the next wave of growth. As with all MGI research, this work is independent and has not been commissioned or sponsored in any way by any business, government, or other institution. We welcome your comments on the research at

Jacques Bughin, Director, McKinsey Global Institute Brussels

Eric Hazan, Co-leader, Digital McKinsey, Senior Partner, McKinsey and Company Member, McKinsey Global Institute Council Paris

James Manyika, Director, McKinsey Global Institute San Francisco

Jonathan Woetzel, Director, McKinsey Global Institute Shanghai

June 2017

Copyright © McKinsey & Company 2017

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