The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to boost Britain’s economy by £400 billion by the end of the decade, according to a report by Google.
In the tech giant’s first report on its economic impact in the UK for three years, Google said AI technology has the power to “turbocharge” UK productivity, which has been in decline for many years, by helping people back to work and unlocking new ways of working.
The report estimates that the economic boost from AI would be equivalent to annual growth of 2.6 per cent, creating £200 billion in extra revenues for public services and “turning around the recent growth stagnation”, although the estimation does not take account of the impact on some jobs and businesses. The group insisted that while jobs will be lost through AI across a raft of sectors, the economic benefits and improvements to people’s everyday lives will outweigh the hit.
Google also backed the need for regulation in the report, but stressed it should be a “nuanced approach” that does not stifle innovation in the sector.
Google’s UK and Ireland Managing Director, Debbie Weinstein, told the PA news agency: “This shift that we’re going through is the most profound platform shift that any of us have lived through.
“We are very conscious of the impact that this technology will have on people.
“Clearly there will be some jobs that will be lost, but also a whole new set of jobs that will be created.”
She said Google is focusing on “upskilling” workers to ensure they can benefit from AI.
“We want to make sure everyone has the skills they need. We’re aware that this is a fundamental technology shift that will impact all of our lives,” she added.
Steven Mooney, CEO of FundMyPitch, added: “If AI is projected to bring billions to the UK economy, then why on earth aren’t our start-ups and SMEs getting the funding they need to take their businesses to the next level? Time and time again, reports show that UK entrepreneurs struggle to secure access to credible funding or even an independent valuation, in stark contrast to other markets. A failure to get ahead of the game on AI will have disastrous consequences for the economy, so giving full financial backing to up-and-coming companies that are pioneering developments in this technology should be a top priority.”
Chris Downie, CEO of digital trust and safety platform Pasabi, said: “With AI set to bring unprecedented change to the economy, it is refreshing to see companies like Google looking to work proactively with Government to take a nuanced approach to regulation. A national skills agenda and the UK Research Cloud are admirable initiatives, however, more attention still needs to be given to the risks posed by cyber criminals who are already hijacking the technology for their own harmful purposes. From online scams to the global epidemic of fake reviews, to adopt a proactive approach to harness the latest fraud detection technologies to take the fight to online fraudsters.”