UK Manufacturing’s eagerness to adopt new tech slows over AI fears

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The UK’s manufacturing sector is ahead of the curve when it comes to the adoption of technology including virtual and augmented reality tools, with 15 per cent of organisations in this industry already using this technology – ahead of banking (6%), government (1%), and retail (8%).

Despite this and the potential of implementing AI in business, nearly a third (28%) of the industry’s employees fear that their job could be taken by AI in the future and only 87% of the industry’s leaders and employees think there is a place for automation when it comes to product assembly.

The study, conducted by Microsoft, 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 organisations that have not by 5 per cent, a substantial boost to the bottom line.
These organisations were found to be more productive, have higher performance and experience better business outcomes.

The report ‘Maximising the AI opportunity’, highlights the country’s opportunity to lead the way in the development and use of AI, but only if organisations act now. It also urges business leaders to take a principled approach by establishing underlying values, ethics and commitments.

Microsoft UK COO Clare Barclay, 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.”


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