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16 January 2019
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UK lacks AI © iStock

1 November 2018 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal

UK organisations risk falling behind overseas competition due to a lack of AI strategy, according to a new report by Microsoft UK. 

The research reveals that 41 per cent of business leaders believe their current business model will cease to exist within the next five years. 

Despite big questions over the longevity of their business models, more than half (51 per cent) of business leaders surveyed revealed they do not have an AI strategy in place to address these challenges. The study – conducted in partnership with Goldsmiths, University of London and YouGov, and based on a survey of more than 1,000 business leaders and 4,000 employees – found that companies that have started to use AI technologies are already outperforming by 5 per cent organisations that have not. 

These organisations were found to be more productive, have higher performance and experience better business outcomes.


The report ‘Maximising the AI opportunity’ also urges business leaders to take a principled approach by establishing underlying values, ethics and commitments. 

The research reveals the organisations that have already adopted an ethical approach to the use of AI are outperforming those that aren’t by 9 per cent. 

Clare Barclay, chief operating officer at Microsoft UK, said: “AI represents a huge opportunity, but only if UK organisations embrace its application in the right way. AI is not about making UK businesses leaner, it’s about how we use the technology to make them stronger. In doing so, we can make our work more meaningful and boost UK competitiveness.”

Lord Clement-Jones, chairman of the House of Lords Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence, said: “Without doubt, artificial intelligence can provide a great opportunity for British society and the economy. Today the UK enjoys a position of AI innovation, so as we enter a crucial stage in its development and adoption, the country has a clear opportunity to be a world leader. For this, an ethics-backed partnership between business academia and government will be pivotal.”