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AI and climate change threaten nearly half the world’s businesses

Bloomberg | | Posted by Singh Rahul Sunilkumar
Jan 16, 2024 12:15 AM IST

Almost half of CEOs fear business failure due to technology and climate pressures

Almost half of global chief executives said their business models won’t be viable within a decade due to the pace of technological advances such as AI and climate pressures, according to a survey.

A press photographer works next to the logo of the World Economic Forum (WEF) at the opening of their annual meeting in Davos on January 15, 2024. (AFP)

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ poll of 4,702 company leaders around the world found that 45% said their businesses could fail in 10 years unless they adapt, up from 39% in 2023.

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“They are actually less optimistic than last year about their own revenue prospects, and more acutely aware of the need for fundamental reinvention of their business,” said Bob Moritz, global chair of PwC, unveiling the survey at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. As inflationary fears ease, Moritz said business leaders were becoming more focused on AI and climate change.

Moritz added that countries needed better infrastructure and clean energy to keep up with the soaring demand for AI. “Everybody’s jumping to the bright, shiny new toy and we don’t even have enough computing power to actually get the world up and running on it yet,” he said during a phone call. Economic growth is needed to fuel investment in AI and demand for energy will keep rising, he added.

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Business leaders are becoming less concerned about macroeconomic challenges, the survey also found, with more than a third of CEOs expecting their workforce to increase by 5% this year.

Discussing his own business, Moritz said PwC was trying to make “smarter” decisions about corporate travel, to reduce emissions and cut costs. “You’re trying to be more effective and efficient with your travel when you travel, how you travel,” said Moritz.

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