Thursday 8 August 2019 12:01 am

Public mistrust in AI ‘puts UK tech dominance at risk’

Public mistrust in artificial intelligence risks setting the UK back in the global tech race, according to a report published today.

UK businesses must lead by example and take an ethical approach to the new technology if they are to secure consumer confidence, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) warned.

Read more: Google-owned AI firm Deepmind suffers ballooning losses as debt mounts

The report highlights the potential benefits of AI to the economy, forecasting that the tech will impact most sectors by 2021.

A previous study by Pwc estimated UK GDP could be up to 10 per cent higher in 2030 due to AI – equivalent to an additional £232bn.

But the CBI called on employers to address key ethical issues surrounding AI, such as updating governance processes, challenging unfair bias and ensuring customers understand when decisions are taken by AI and how their data is being used.

“At a time of slowing global growth, AI could add billions of pounds to the UK economy and transform our stuttering productivity performance,” said Felicity Burch, CBI director of digital and innovation.

“The government has set the right tone by establishing the Centre for Data Ethics & Innovation, but it’s up to business to put ethics into practice.”

A recent study commissioned by AI firm and shared with City A.M. highlighted the extent of public scepticism about the technology.

Two-thirds of UK adults said they worried about machines taking people’s jobs, while almost a quarter thought AI could bring about the end of humankind.

Despite this, 62 per cent of respondents said they believe AI will do more harm than good.

Read more: Two-thirds of adults fear AI will take jobs

A government spokesperson said: “Artificial intelligence has the potential to transform and improve the way we work, and we want to make sure we can seize the opportunities it will bring.

“We are investing £1bn to help boost the UK’s industry, skills and put ethics into the heart of our work so it is developed in an safe and innovative way.”

Main image credit: Getty