AI economy boost will ‘outweigh hit’ of job losses, Google report says

AI economy boost will ‘outweigh hit’ of job losses, Google report says


The economic benefits and improvements to people’s everyday lives brought about by artificial intelligence (AI) will outweigh the hit of job losses, Google has indicated in a new report.

Debbie Weinstein, Google’s UK and Ireland managing director said: “This shift that we’re going through is the most profound platform shift that any of us have lived through.

“We are very conscious of the impact that this technology will have on people.

“Clearly, there will be some jobs that will be lost, but also a whole new set of jobs that will be created.”

Weinstein added that Google is focused on “upskilling” workers to ensure they can benefit from AI.

“We want to make sure everyone has the skills they need. We’re aware that this is a fundamental technology shift that will impact all of our lives.”

Economic boost

AI has the potential to boost the UK’s digital economy by £400 billion by the end of the decade, a report from Google says.

The report is Google’s first on its economic impact in the UK for three years and indicates that AI has the power to “turbocharge” UK productivity, which has been in decline for many years.

It estimates that the economic boost from AI would be equivalent to annual growth of 2.6%, creating £200 billion in extra revenues for public services and “turning around the recent growth stagnation”, although the estimation doesn’t take into account the impact on some jobs and businesses.

Steven Mooney, CEO of FundMyPitch laments the fact that start-ups and SMEs aren’t receiving adequate funding.

“Time and time again, reports show that UK entrepreneurs struggle to secure access to credible funding or even an independent valuation, in stark contrast to other markets,” he said.

“A failure to get ahead of the game on AI will have disastrous consequences for the economy, so giving full financial backing to up-and-coming companies that are pioneering developments in this technology should be a top priority.”

In the report, Google also backs the need for regulation but stressed that it should be a “nuanced approach” that does not stifle innovation in the sector.

“With AI set to bring unprecedented change to the economy, it is refreshing to see companies like Google looking to work proactively with Government to take a nuanced approach to regulation,” said Chris Downie, CEO of digital trust and safety platform Pasabi.

“A national skills agenda and the UK Research Cloud are admirable initiatives; however, more attention still needs to be given to the risks posed by cyber criminals who are already hijacking the technology for their own harmful purposes.

“From online scams to the global epidemic of fake reviews, to adopt a proactive approach to harness the latest fraud detection technologies to take the fight to online fraudsters."

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