Artificial intelligence could add 11.6% - or €48 billion to Ireland's GDP by 2030, according to research by PwC.

That puts the country ahead of the average gains expected across Europe - though the significant boost it's expected to bring to Asian economies puts us behind the global figure.

According to Ronan Fitzpatrick, who is PwC's Digital Director and author of the report, while much of the current focus on AI has been around automation and robotics they are also predicting it to have a significant improvement on the consumption side too.

"[The GDP gain] is about a two-thirds split between consumption and productivity," he says. "That comes from improved product quality and improved personalisation of products and also a little bit from time-saving from those products.

"That personalisation piece are things we can see happening in the environment already - taking all of the inputs that exist from our personal and digital footprint and offering us products that are better suited to us, and hence consumption increases."

One of the main selling points of automation and robotics is how it can replace or simplify what is currently labour-intensive work. However the PwC report also predicts that over the long term AI will have a neutral - or perhaps even positive - impact on jobs in the country.

"There's certainly efficiencies that fall out of automation and speeding up all of the work that we do but the nature of work will change," said Mr Fitzpatrick. "That's something we've adapted to over time... but what we're seeing is that there are aspects of all occupations where we can take some of the mundane, repetitive tasks out of it and free us up to deliver higher-value work."

He added that improved use of technology could also see some currently offshore jobs return to the country, while new ways of working will open the door to jobs that do not currently exist.

However the report accepts that some sectors will be worse affected than others - with those leaning more towards lower skills and lower pay perhaps most vulnerable.

That includes the retail, accommodation and food services sectors - as well as construction, manufacturing and transport.

It is likely that these productivity gains will also come first - before the economy sees the consumption gains and new jobs that might flow from AI.

"The curve in terms of the productivity versus consumption - in the first instance it will probably be productivity-focused," he said. "That's something as an economy and a workforce we've adapted to over time - there are less handweavers now than there were.

"Through education and through the colleges and through courses that we've got - the nature of work will change and it's the resilience and adaptability in the workforce that we seek."

Any need to change the focus of the workforce will require plenty of upskilling - with Ireland starting from a deficit in many areas due to the fact that there are already skills shortages.

Mr Fitzpatrick believes that access to skills remains a challenge - but colleges are working hard to adapt and introduce new courses to prepare the workforce of tomorrow.

The culture created by foreign investors and start-ups here should also help with this - as could Brexit, given the potential for it to create some jobs that might have otherwise resided in Britain.

However any idea of robotics replacing humans creates a number of ethical and economic challenges - with some suggesting that governments will need to look at things like universal basic pay to replace or supplement the income lost through automation.

According to Mr Fitzpatrick, this is just one of the issues that Irish politicians will have to weigh up as they look towards preparing the country for an AI-heavy future.

"There's going to be a number of factors that the Government and we as a society will have to look at.

"The impact on the lower-skilled workforce is something that there's been a lot of talk about globally and also within Ireland."

However he says the key is that the country asks how it can keep up to speed and how people can continue to learn, while also changing the mindset around employment and how the 'job for life' of the past may no longer be a reality.

"It was mentioned at the World Economic Forum last year that of our kids entering into the education system, 65% of them will work in jobs that haven't yet been invented," he said. "The nature of what we do is all going to change - and I think there's certainly aspects of all of our jobs we'd love a robot to take off our hands."