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Is AI The Terminator or the next industrial revolution?

There has been a lot of hype over Artificial Intelligence (AI), however, there will many who will be disappointed as AI fails to deliver the promised business benefits. Those businesses that approach it from the perspective of small focused improvements, to interactions with their customers and internal workflow improvements, will gain a competitive advantage.

According to a 2017 report from PwC, 2018 marks the year artificial intelligence (AI) can finally be applied widely. The report did warn that 30 per cent of UK’s jobs might be under threat from the technology, but predicted the UK could see productivity boosted by up to 30 per cent and savings generated of up to 25 per cent.

With AI, everyone can benefit but, as with all types of technology, there is a need to upskill the workforce to cope with this interesting time of change. It’s all about education, the right kind of education to ensure its success.

A lot like any other industrial revolution, we still need people to power the machines, the same goes for AI. It won’t magically take the jobs away, we still need people to develop the algorithms and analyse the patterns to truly take advantage of AI.

AI is best applied to eliminating routine monotonous and dangerous tasks. For example, electricity companies have or are switching to the use of drones to inspect power infrastructure. This removes the need for helicopters lowering costs, improving safety.

AI could be used to scan hours of video footage.  Autonomous drones could have AI to detect hot spots and only send that footage back.  Safety and lowered infrastructure costs delivering greater value to the bottom line.

In research, AI will and has started to remove the need for wet labs and also speed up time to insight into various aspects of medicine, for example the identification of cancerous tumours from medical scans.

Despite scaremonger stories, AI is not The Terminator and will not eliminate jobs. It has a legitimate place in all UK businesses, but we all need to get to a point where we implement it at an everyday level, otherwise we could get to a stage where it’s only the large corporates that benefit.

If you have any comments on this blog, please leave a comment or if you would like to explore AI further, please get in touch with me here.

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