Impressive progress made at Rishi Sunak's AI Safety Summit: Olga Watterich
Look across any industry and you can see AI being put to work.
From Yorkshire Water utilising AI to enhance their data strategies to the Port of Felixstowe leveraging the technology to support a fleet of 100 autonomous trucks.
AI degree courses are also popping up across the region, from Bradford to Hull, Leeds to Huddersfield.
Some people have even argued that this technology could be the most important invention since electricity.
Against this tide of information, businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber are looking to the Government to help unlock both the technology’s efficiencies and productivity potential.
The CBI believes more widespread use of AI could add £38 billion to the UK’s Gross Value Added (GVA), with Goldman Sachs research suggesting an almost $7 trillion uplift worldwide.
Alongside this is a need to balance innovative AI entrepreneurship and effective AI adoption by UK businesses with a safe and secure environment, particularly in national security.
The Bletchley Declaration, signed by 28 countries at the UK Government’s AI Safety Summit last week, pledged to tackle the risks and marked impressive progress towards the event’s objectives.
The Prime Minister was joined at the event by US Vice President Kamala Harris, EC President Ursula von der Leyen and Wu Zhaohui, China’s Vice Minister of Science and Technology.
X/Tesla owner Elon Musk also added some further interesting thoughts on how AI could impact employment more broadly.
In terms of outcomes, the announcements of a new AI Safety Institute and AI Research Resource are potentially useful steps towards setting up institutions that will provide firms with clarity on AI’s potential and how they can deploy it.
Similarly, the prospect of further summits represents another serious statement of intent as the UK strives to be a global leader in AI.
The Prime Minister said at the summit that traditional legislative measures will not be able to keep pace with such advanced developments.
However, he said that AI firms would probably be required to make some binding commitments to AI model transparency, welcoming the decision by leading firms - including Meta, Google and OpenAI - to allow regulators the opportunity to vet their products before they are released.
Heading into 2024, CBI will be keen to see how the Government could support the technology adoption, including AI, by businesses as an important mechanism to tackle skills and labour shortages. Good AI adoption should improve people’s performance and boost productivity, not serve as way to replace valued skills and expertise.
Putting in place easy-to-navigate rules that support businesses to effectively leverage this game changing tool can ensure AI remains a force for good. With the right approach, the UK’s AI businesses community can be a world leader.
Olga Watterich is CBI Deputy Regional Director for Yorkshire and Humber