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Nov 19

B. AI to spark a new productivity boom?

A new productivity boom could be sparked by AI – Artificial Intelligence?

Who says so?

No less than two UK government ministers

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley says: “AI has the potential to improve our every day lives” – precisely what productivity improvement is all about

And Business Secretary Greg Clark claims: “Huge social and economic benefits AI can bring”

Apparently, they and the government want to make Britain the world leader in AI and so add £630 billion to the UK economy

Grand aims but how will this happen – and who will make it happen?

HOW?

According to an article by Darren Roos of SAP:

  • Change in the digital world is happening rapidly:

    • “We generate more data in a day than we used to produce in a decade”

    • AI already helps reduce operational costs by automating manual tasks

    • Only a decade ago, smartphones were a rarity – now most people have one

    • Google CEO Sundar Pichai says instant language translation could be available in a few years

  • AI makes a difference by making sense of and connections between data sets, finding patterns within them, and enabling us to learn and achieve things much faster and better than we can alone

  • The Economist says: “Data is giving rise to a whole new economy – it’s as important to this century as oil was to the last one, creating new infrastructure, new businesses, new monopolies and new politics”

  • AI is already recognised as being the most effective way to gain an edge over competitors

  • At the same time, another positive, according to Gartner, is that AI will be a ‘net job creator’ in the long run, freeing people from repetitive tasks to do more interesting work which adds more value to them and their employers

WHO will make this happen?

  • Roos says: “It has to be a joint effort between businesses, academia and government”

  • The UK government has said it will focus on four key areas:

    • Developing AI skills

    • Increasing AI uptake

    • Improving data use and availability

    • Building on AI research

Roos applauds these target areas – as long as they are acted on NOW and not some vague moment in the future – otherwise Britain risks being left behind as other developed nations race ahead

He concludes: “AI or machine learning has the potential to directly support the success and growth of UK businesses – the future of our economy depends on us getting this right and the time to embrace it is NOW”

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