The A.I. Revolution Is Coming. But Not as Fast as Some People Think.

The investment frenzy is well underway. In the first half of 2023, funding for generative A.I. start-ups reached $15.3 billion, nearly three times the total for all of last year, according to PitchBook, which tracks start-up investments.

Corporate technology managers are sampling generative A.I. software from a host of suppliers and watching to see how the industry shakes out.

In November, when ChatGPT was made available to the public, it was a “Netscape moment” for generative A.I., said Rob Thomas, IBM’s chief commercial officer, referring to Netscape’s introduction of the browser in 1994. “That brought the internet alive,” Mr. Thomas said. But it was just a beginning, opening a door to new business opportunities that took years to exploit.

In a recent report, the McKinsey Global Institute, the research arm of the consulting firm, included a timeline for the widespread adoption of generative A.I. applications. It assumed steady improvement in currently known technology, but not future breakthroughs. Its forecast for mainstream adoption was neither short nor precise, a range of eight to 27 years.

The broad range is explained by plugging in different assumptions about economic cycles, government regulation, corporate cultures and management decisions.

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