According to a business AI activity report by the UK government, legal, IT, and telecoms businesses are the biggest investors and adopters of AI tech, followed by media and advertising, logistics, and manufacturing.
In total, around 15% of UK businesses have adopted AI technology, with medium-sized businesses investing the most in in-house technology development. Small businesses spend the most on external solutions, whereas large organizations tend to outsource AI technology requirements.
With a spend of £16.7 billion on AI technologies in 2020, the research suggests this could increase by 16% in 2025 to £35.6 billion.
Ben Barnes, Managing Director at an AI and data-led marketing firm Neural Edge notes that “As the AI industry matures, so does its technology. We’re seeing more and more industries coming to rely on AI technology for daily operations. In our own business, we’ve saved up to 60% of our time on data gathering and analysis using AI tools.”
The increased adoption of AI has been credited to the significant cost savings it delivers and the ability of businesses to improve customer experiences by leveraging automated processes. As AI becomes a more integrated part of business operations, the demand for AI-related skills will grow, creating new jobs and career opportunities.
Will AI Take Workers Jobs?
The common fear with AI is that it will displace human workers. However, the reality is quite different. AI can be an effective tool for businesses to automate mundane and repetitive tasks, freeing up employees to focus on more creative and customer-focused activities.
This shift in activities has been seen across industries where automation has been most widely adopted, including legal and manufacturing.
In 2020, £40.6 billion was invested in labor associated with the development, operation or maintenance of AI technologies. This is growing by 11.7% annually and is expected to reach £304.2 billion by 2040. So, despite automation, jobs will be created for people with the necessary AI-related skills.
AI is an ever-evolving technology that has a wide range of applications across many industries. With the UK government’s backing and support from businesses, it looks like this trend will continue to grow in the coming years.
How Can UK Businesses Get Started With AI?
According to Ben Barnes, “The first step for any business looking to adopt AI is to understand their needs and priorities, from what data they have available through to the types of insights needed. From there, it’s a matter of finding the right technology and ensuring that the team are upskilled on how to use it effectively.”
AI technologies such as machine learning, natural language processing, and computer vision are increasingly accessible for businesses of all sizes, although it’s important to ensure that adequate infrastructure is in place to support their use.
Finally, a data-driven culture where employees understand the importance of analytics and how AI can be used as an effective tool is considered essential for successful adoption. With more organizations investing in AI, the UK is well-positioned to become a leader in AI technology.
Looking To The Future
In conclusion, AI has the potential to revolutionize the way UK businesses operate and deliver significant cost savings for organizations of all sizes. It can also create new job opportunities and help employees to focus on more creative tasks.
Investing in appropriate infrastructure and developing a data-driven culture are key to successful AI adoption and can help UK businesses stay competitive in the global market.