Director of Tech and Innovation, TechUK
The current generation shows us constant developments in artificial intelligence (AI). However, industries must invest in research to gain confidence in this technology and ensure deployment.
Our time during the pandemic has shown us all the power and potential of AI and robotics, from customer service chatbots to having your shopping delivered by a robot. As we continue to see huge leaps in the development of these areas, the question now is: what’s next?
Predicting the future is hard. But it is clear that the pandemic demonstrated the powerful impact and opportunities AI, robotics and automation can offer as key drivers of operational efficiency and productivity, which is critical in ensuring future economic growth.
So, how do we get the future right? The great news is the UK is already in a position to draw on its strengths across research, academia and industry. However, we also need to make progress in key areas to get this right.
In robotics, more work is needed on deployment.
Research for growth
The UK is a global leader in AI and third in the world for private venture capital investment in AI companies. Solidifying this position means ensuring the right skills and talent AI companies need to grow and scale.
Any AI regulation must also be workable, proportionate and clear, to give developers and adopters maximum confidence. And let’s not forget that policymakers, industry and regulators need to continue to work together to spur innovation through testbeds, sandboxes and cutting-edge research.
In robotics, more work is needed on deployment. According to research by the National Federation of Robotics, the UK is the only G7 country with a ‘robot density’ lower than the global average. Given the potential for automation to support industries, such as manufacturing, we must find ways to encourage greater deployment while also recognising and understanding real concerns about its impact on jobs and the future of work.
AI and robotics offer huge potential for what is currently an uncertain future. To realise the full potential of these technologies, we must build greater trust and confidence in AI, robotics and automation and bring everyone — especially employees and citizens — on this journey and leave no one behind.