Clarksons Securities believes a new artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot heralds a change that could boost shipping with a productivity boom to rival the Industrial Revolution.

Entrepreneur Sam Altman’s OpenAI released ChatGPT on 30 November. It has since taken the tech industry and the internet by storm, according to tech media.

The chatbot is capable of understanding human speech and producing in-depth writing, while learning from mistakes.

Clarksons Securities said artificial intelligence has become a significant topic since the launch.

Analysts led by Frode Morkedal admitted they have been “extremely impressed” after trying the technology.

“It will be clear to everyone who uses this tool that we may now be on the cusp of an AI-enabled labour productivity boom on a scale not seen since the IT revolution of the 1990s, and one that may even surpass that of the Industrial Revolution,” they said.

AI-led economic growth is good news for shipping because the industry tends to expand in tandem with the world economy, the investment bank believes.

“We draw the conclusion that shipping, as a leveraged play on the global economy, should be in for a great ride as a result of China’s reopening in 2023 and the long-term positive effects of AI on economic growth,” Morkedal and his team said.

The global population grows by about 1% each year, whereas labour productivity grows by 1.5% to 2% per year, Clarksons Securities calculates.

Dramatic effect on workplace

Capital investments add 0.5% to global GDP, resulting in long-term growth of 3%.

“Similar to how the invention of the sewing machine allowed a single worker to produce seven times as much as a human seamstress working by hand during the Industrial Revolution, the introduction of AI could have a dramatic effect on efficiency in the workplace,” the analysts said.

This could generate faster wealth accumulation, increasing demand for shipping services.

“While the short-term picture is tempered by a recession necessary to contain inflation, the long-term future seems bright, also supported by very low orderbooks for new ships in key segments such as tankers and dry bulk,” they added.

China’s reopening will provide a significant boost to shipping next year, the investment bank argues.

National health authorities released new Covid rules this month.

Infected people who have mild or no symptoms can isolate themselves at home, while those travelling within China no longer need to take tests.

There has been no mention of the previous “dynamic zero-Covid” policy by official news sources.