Deputy PM: AI's Impact on UK Could Surpass Industrial Revolution

NNicholas August 12, 2023 3:06 PM

Artificial intelligence's (AI) potential to revolutionize productivity and job roles in the UK could dwarf the impact of the Industrial Revolution, according to Deputy Prime Minister, Oliver Dowden. However, he warned of the risks of AI in the hands of hackers and terrorists.

AI revolution set to transform productivity

Deputy PM Dowden envisions a future where AI not only boosts productivity but also transforms everyday life. This pending AI revolution, he says, is poised to change everything more quickly and extensively than any previous technological revolutions, including the Industrial Revolution. Dowden’s vision of future productivity leverages the power of AI to handle the mundane aspects of jobs, thereby freeing human workers to focus on the more engaging tasks.

AI to streamline governmental decisions

AI's potential isn't limited to industry, according to Dowden. It could also revolutionize governmental operations by streamlining decision-making processes and reducing paperwork. Some of this transformation is already underway; AI is being used to process asylum claim applications in the Home Office. Yet, Dowden maintains that the ultimate decision-making authority will still rest with human ministers, despite AI's ability to analyze vast data sets and provide insights.

Potential for AI misuse in terrorism

The impressive capabilities of AI could unfortunately be turned to harmful ends. As Dowden warns, terrorists and hackers could exploit AI to gain access to sensitive information, or to conduct large-scale hacking operations. Recent attacks on the Electoral Commission and Police Service of Northern Ireland are stark reminders of cybersecurity risks. In light of this, precautions and risks associated with AI must be carefully considered and addressed.

As AI continues to grow and evolve, it will inevitably cause major shifts in the economy. Dowden acknowledges this fact and asserts that the government's role is to ensure that these changes don't disadvantage human workers. Drawing a parallel to the automotive revolution, he suggests that the widespread adoption of AI should ultimately allow humans to engage with the more interesting aspects of their jobs, while the 'boring bits' are left to AI.

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