Oracle set to launch generative AI services but not at the expense of jobs

The services will be introduced on Fusion Cloud apps within the next two quarters

Miranda Nash, group vice president for applications development and strategy at Oracle, during the company's CloudWorld conference in Las Vegas. Photo: Oracle
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Artificial intelligence is not a threat that will take away jobs from humans, a senior Oracle executive has said, as the US technology company prepares to introduce its first generative AI services.

The technology, vastly improved with the advent of generative AI, should not be viewed as a danger but an enabler for people to become more productive, Miranda Nash group vice president for applications development and strategy at Oracle, told The National in an interview.

"It will not take away jobs, there are social science studies to support the fact that people are more productive when they're using AI in the right way," she said on the sidelines of the Oracle CloudWorld conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

"One of the things we're doing within [AI] applications is making it accessible to all types of roles ... to achieve a lot of results on their own in a different way – service agents, recruiters and finance people, among others, get the benefits from AI within the context of their work."

Eighteen per cent of work globally could be automated by AI, with a bigger impact on developed than emerging markets, a Goldman Sachs report said in March.

In the US, a quarter of current work tasks could be automated by AI, with sectors thought to be most at risk including administrative (46 per cent) and legal (44 per cent) professions. Physically intensive professions such as construction and maintenance have low exposure, the US investment bank said.

Oracle announced at the event that its first generative AI services would be released on its Fusion Cloud platform within the next two quarters.

They will be introduced on Oracle's Human Capital Management and Cloud Experience platforms in the fourth quarter of this year, then on its Enterprise Resource Planning and Supply Chain Management services in the January to March 2024 period.

Earlier, Oracle announced the limited availability of its Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Generative AI service, which will support large language models to organisations in specific tasks, including the automation of end-to-end business processes, improved decision-making and enhanced customer experiences.

Texas-based Oracle expects the early adopters of its generative AI services will experience tangible benefits, Ms Nash said.

"We cannot provide examples on how generative AI will affect revenues and bottom lines yet but we can say that customers can expect dramatic gains in productivity ... and it raises the bar of quality," she said.

AI has come a long way and has been widely used across categories, and the advent of generative AI has changed all that by creating a new race.

Companies, led by global majors Google and Microsoft-backed OpenAI, have thrown their hat into the AI race, jockeying for position to take the early lead in the developing technology.

Oracle, meanwhile, has been using AI for more than 20 years, having integrated it into its various global services, including analytics, the cloud and its database portfolio.

The company first announced its generative AI plans in June with a three-pronged strategy: build "robust" infrastructure, provide easy-to-use cloud services for developers and scientists, and embed generative models into the applications and workflows that businesses use every day.

Also that month, Oracle announced it was spending “billions” of dollars on chips from Nvidia, as it seeks to boost its position in generative AI and cloud computing.

"We're already seeing a shift," Ms Nash said. "It has lit up the minds of our customers and now we're getting feedback about things they want to see.

"And this is what this will help elevate, again, the quality and value to our customers."

She also considers generative AI to be both an evolution and revolution – the latter echoing remarks earlier made by Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison at CloudWorld.

Global AI investments are projected to hit $200 billion by 2025 and could potentially have an even bigger impact on gross domestic product, a Goldman Sachs study showed last month.

Artificial intelligence: Is it getting out of control?

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Generative AI, in particular, has “enormous” economic potential and could boost global labour productivity by more than 1 percentage point annually during the decade following widespread usage, the US investment bank had previously said.

"We are seeing faster and faster adoption of technology and innovation. Customers used to baulk at having to change and now they just know that it's coming more often," Ms Nash said.

Oracle is also an active participant in bodies setting standards, pushing for creating and implementing "guardrails" that ensure any new technology will be safe and secure for all its users, and to prevent its misuse.

"AI doesn't have any separate goals when it's employed for the goals that are good. It's a tool for good," she said.

Updated: September 21, 2023, 7:31 AM