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UK business leaders falling behind on AI and automation

UK businesses face “the risk of being left behind” in planning for AI post-Brexit.

By Tom Ball

According to a survey conducted by PwC, UK CEO’s are trailing behind on AI and automation plans. The survey reached out to 1,370 global leaders, 120 of which were from the UK.

The CEO survey which was published at The World Economic Forum in Davos revealed that only 28% of UK CEOs are considering the future impact of AI on their future skills needs. In comparison to this, 39% of CEOs worldwide are considering the impact, with 38% currently exploring the benefits of humans and machines working together.

58% of UK business leaders have also indicated the belief that emerging technologies involving AI pose a threat to trust levels within their organisations. Meanwhile, insurers and banks are actively tackling the question of how humans and machines will co-exist in the workplace.

Threat of AIKevin Ellis, chairman and senior partner at PWC said: “As the UK negotiates its exit from the EU it is the perfect time for the government and business to work together to position the UK as the place for technology investment and innovation. This means putting in place a flexible regulatory framework, addressing skills shortages, investing in research hubs and supporting start-ups to scale rapidly.”

While Ellis outlines Brexit as an opportunity to accelerate to the forefront of technology innovation, John Andrews, head of technology and investments at PwC, re-emphasises “the risk of being left behind”.  Andrews goes on to reassure the necessity of humans in the workplace, saying that “skills such as adaptability, problem-solving, leadership, creativity and innovation have never been in higher demand.”

It would appear the UK has a long way to go before being up to speed with CEOs in Japan and the US, who with 62% and 47% respectively are actively considering the positive ways in which humans and machines can work together, are much further ahead.

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