Google strikes generative AI pact with KPMG

Some people working in financial services, healthcare and retail could soon find themselves automated out of a job.

Nick Wood

May 9, 2023

3 Min Read
Artificial intelligence

Some people working in financial services, healthcare and retail could soon find themselves automated out of a job.

These are the three sectors initially in the sights of Google Cloud and accountancy giant KPMG, which late last week expanded their partnership to include the application of generative AI to the latter’s range of enterprise services. Maximising their chances of spreading anxiety among workers, Google and KPMG said they want to integrate the technology into clients’ front, middle and back office functions. No department is safe.

If this sounds a bit alarmist, consider that Goldman Sachs thinks (PDF) generative AI could automate some 300 million full-time jobs. Bloomberg reported earlier this month that IBM CEO Arvind Krishna thinks around 30% of the 26,000 staff working back-office jobs at his company could be replaced by AI over a five-year period. As reported in April, 42% of enterprises surveyed by analyst firm Omdia have earmarked at least $1 million to spend on AI.

This is before you get to the more alarming statements being made about AI’s potential to spread disinformation, perpetuate prejudice, and generally wage war against humans.

The KPMG/Google Cloud partnership isn’t being pitched like this, of course. No, it’s all about agility, flexibility, and transformation. Definitely nothing to do saving money by replacing slow, needy humans with efficient, data-crunching neural networks.

“There’s an increased need to accelerate digital transformation and manage disruption in the market. Together with Google Cloud, we are excited to help our clients innovate at scale and embrace change, while protecting data in a secure environment,” said Laura Newinski, deputy chair and COO of KPMG, in a statement on Friday.

Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian went a step further, saying generative AI will actually empower employees. Presumably those that haven’t been replaced, that is.

“Google Cloud is focused on applying generative AI to practical, real-world use cases that will create value across industries,” he said “Through our expanded alliance with KPMG, we will accelerate the application of Google Cloud generative AI throughout the world’s largest organisations, helping them deliver innovation and empower employees, create more value from data, and more.”

KPMG and Google Cloud have been working together for years across a range of areas, including AI. Last year, they detailed their joint work to provide HSBC with an AI chatbot to automatically answer staff queries relating to risk management. They also offer AI-powered customer analytics to life insurers, and medical prediction technology to intensive care providers.

In February, they expanded their partnership in the UK with a new five-year deal. It builds on their work together on ESG IQ, a big data analytics platform that uses natural language processing to help clients assess their own environmental, social and governance performance.

With all the attention being paid to generative AI at the moment, there is a sense that businesses that don’t embrace it will be left behind by competitors that do.


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About the Author(s)

Nick Wood

Nick is a freelancer who has covered the global telecoms industry for more than 15 years. Areas of expertise include operator strategies; M&As; and emerging technologies, among others. As a freelancer, Nick has contributed news and features for many well-known industry publications. Before that, he wrote daily news and regular features as deputy editor of Total Telecom. He has a first-class honours degree in journalism from the University of Westminster.

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