Microsoft Report Highlights UK PLC’s Lack of AI Strategy (The Week in AI)

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Business Readiness for AI

While rare praise has been given to the energy and drive behind the Government’s AI and data industrial strategy, a new report from Microsoft suggests that most businesses are not doing enough themselves (reported here in Internet of Business). Half of businesses surveyed by the company said that they had no AI strategy in place. The research also found that businesses who have already begun this journey are doing five percent better on factors like productivity, performance, and business outcomes than those that have not.

Microsoft exec Norm Judah commented that AI is really about augmenting human ingenuity and the report suggests that many businesses can gain a competitive advantage if they start making plans for how to do that – especially while rivals do not act.

But while there may be an advantage, what is not widely discussed in the coverage of this report are the global implications. Part of the Government and the technology industry’s role is surely to embed a culture of receptiveness to AI innovation within all businesses so that people begin to see the positive applications and adoption levels are high. If we can’t win the hearts and minds of the business community here, we may well fall behind.

One ray of light is the finding that adherence to GDPR better sets up European firms to deal with potential future global AI regulations.

Pick of the Week

The most thought provoking article of the week in my view was Alex Hern’s examination of MIT research which showcases global cultural differences on the ethics of AI. The researchers asked millions of people subtle variations of the famous morality puzzler, the “trolley problem”, but applied to the AI decision making of driverless cars. As Hern details, responses varied globally, with people in the south more likely to protect youth and sacrifice the elderly than those in the Far East for example. Fascinating read - https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/oct/24/who-should-ai-kill-in-a-driverless-car-crash-it-depends-who-you-ask

News in Brief:

https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/1/18053156/ai-smart-outlet-power-save

Around Whitehall:

UK establishes National Centre for Quantum Computing

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-funding-puts-uk-at-the-forefront-of-cutting-edge-quantum-technologies

Led by Greg Clark and BEIS, the Government announced the launch of a new quantum computing centre and a £235 million funding boost for research in the area. The overarching goal is to build the world’s first universal quantum computer. It is predicted that quantum computing will be a key accelerator of artificial intelligence innovation.

DWP uses AI analysis of benefits claims

https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2018/10/29/how-the-uk-government-uses-artificial-intelligence-to-identify-welfare-and-state-benefits-fraud/#53ed6ee540cb

DWP is using AI to flag potentially fraudulent benefits claims. The system even scours social media accounts to discover claimant behaviour that might contradict their claims, such as lavish holiday spending for those on unemployment, or physical activities for those claiming disability benefits.

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