Early adopters set to reap the benefits
Our research on the impact of AI on the UK economy shows the primary contributor to the UK's economic gains between 2017 and 2030 will come from AI-driven consumer product enhancements and automation of routine tasks – accounting for £232bn.
And in this year’s 22nd PwC CEO Survey, 72% of UK CEOs agree AI will have a significant impact on the way they do business in the next five years.
But adoption rates remain low. Many companies lack the capability to adopt, the necessary talent, or don’t understand how to channel the potential of AI. Some have struggled when adoption attempts ran into real-world barriers/difficulties, meaning appetite for further investment has cooled.
Taking a wait-and-see approach might feel like the safe option, but the risk is missing out on competitive advantages for early adopters.
To succeed, organisations need to gain a better understanding of the potential and capabilities of AI - with those who adopt early reaping the rewards of a powerful force of change.
When it comes to implementing AI, businesses can only move forward when they have a thorough understanding of where, how and why it would benefit their existing operations.
Aspiring early adopters of AI need to consider more than just the technology - do the skills to implement and overcome real-world barriers also exist in their organisation?
A bigger issue to overcome is the building of trust and confidence in AI. Executives interviewed as part of our 2019 AI Predictions report suggested that ensuring AI systems are trustworthy is their top challenge for the year ahead.
And according to our 22nd PwC CEO Survey, 82% of business leaders agree AI-based decisions need to be explainable in order to be trusted.
While the overall feeling is that it will create opportunity, opinions vary when it comes to the impact of AI on job figures. In 'How will automation impact jobs?' PwC reports that the net impact will be roughly flat, with significant variation by sector.
What we know for sure is that while AI will have a big impact on the job market, a priority area for consideration should be meeting the demand for AI skills and upskilling your workforce. The integration of any new technology needs to be done in the context of human care, supervision and management - and AI will only be as powerful as the human insight and control behind it.