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Will AI transform British business?

May 25
Tags: Deloitte
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Will AI transform British business?

One concept management consultants operating in various industries need to be aware of is evolution in technology and the impact it could have on how businesses function and how people work.

The development of artificial intelligence (AI) has been one of the most noteworthy and attention-grabbing tech trends of the past few years. A number of major brands and high-profile individuals - such as Google chief executive Sundar Pichai - have acknowledged just how important this phenomenon could be.

AI encompasses concepts such as machine learning and business process automation, which could hold great importance for companies and professionals when it comes to raising efficiency and cutting costs.

According to a recent survey by Deloitte, more than four out of ten UK firms (42 per cent) have adopted robotics, cognitive and AI technologies within all or part of their workforce.

Another 42 per cent said they were carrying out pilots in certain parts of their organisation, although only 16 per cent were ready to manage a labour force with people, robots and AI operating alongside one another.

One of the concerns that often accompanies talk about the development of AI is that it will put human workers out of a job.

However, research has suggested that many people are taking a positive view on this particular issue. More than half (54 per cent) of people responding to a survey conducted by Jobsite felt that advances in automation and machine learning would enhance their current roles.

One in three (33 per cent) had concerns that their jobs would be at risk.

The most common ways workers believe AI could help them are by enabling them to perform certain tasks quicker (63 per cent) and allowing them to concentrate on more meaningful work (55 per cent).

Customer billing (52 per cent), cybersecurity (49 per cent) and administration (46 per cent) are the areas where automation is expected to have the biggest impact.

Nick Gold, chief executive of Jobsite, said: "The age of automation is fast approaching and, although we're beginning to hear stories of this impacting jobs overseas, it appears Britain believes that AI is friend not foe. This technology is a powerful tool to create efficiencies but, like other technologies have done before, new opportunities and jobs will be created in its wake."

As far as particular industries are concerned, one sector where the influence of AI is already being felt is financial services. Some banks are using processes such as machine learning to drive improvements in areas like fraud detection and data analytics.

In a recent research paper produced by Finextra, Roberto Ferrari, managing director of Italian bank CheBanca!, said AI will be the "defining technology of the new banking and financial services of the future".

However, Julia Krawer, AI expert at Dutch financial institution ABN AMRO, stressed that it is not a "plug-and-play solution".

"For most bank-specific purposes, you will need large quantities of data and a great amount of effort to train the models that lead to intelligence," she said.

It's clear that there is great potential in AI for businesses, but it seems that there is some way to go before that potential can be fully realised.

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Image: iStock/NicoElNino

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