Britain Insists on Robots, AI to Boost Economy


…As Accenture Urges Nigeria on AI

Emma Okonji with agency report

Britain is insisting that it will capitalise on the rise of robot machines and artificial intelligence (AI) to boost its economy, just as the country exits the European Union.

Britain’s belief in robotics technology and artificial intelligence, is coming few weeks after Accenture’s report that was released simultaneously in Nigeria and other African countries, called for public and private sector participation in artificial intelligence in Nigeria.

The report, which predicted five significant technology trends that Nigerians must apply to disrupt businesses over the next three years, has the theme: “Technology for People”, which is a call to action for business and technology leaders to actively design and direct technology to augment and amplify human capabilities.

The report states that the world is beginning to see the emergence of technology for people, by people, drawing a conclusion that what the globe needs in 2017, is technology that seamlessly anticipate the needs of the people and delivering hyper-personalised experiences, using artificial intelligence.

As part of its strategies to champion robotic technology and artificial intelligence in specific industries, the UK government said in a statement this week that it would invest 17.3 million pounds ($21.6 million) in university research on robotics and artificial intelligence. The government cited an estimate from consultancy Accenture that AI could add 654 billion pounds to the UK economy by 2035.

According to Bloomberg report, the UK’s Culture Secretary, Karen Bradley, said in a statement that “We are already pioneers in today’s artificial intelligence revolution and the digital strategy will build on our strengths to make sure UK-based scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs continue to be at the forefront,” which he added, referenced AI’s contribution to smartphone voice and touch recognition technologies.

The announcement is part of UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan to identify industries worth supporting to help transform the economy and boost productivity. The government has said it intends to target areas where it thinks the UK could excel in the future, including biotechnology and mobile networking.

The UK’s digital strategy proposal, set to be unveiled this week, also includes a review of AI to determine how the government and industry can provide further support.

UK’s Business Secretary, Greg Clark, said: “Investment in robotics and artificial intelligence will help make our economy more competitive, build on our world-leading reputation in these cutting-edge sectors and help us create new products, develop more innovative services and establish better ways of doing business.”

According to Accenture, the human-centered technology approach pays off for businesses, as leading companies would transform relationships from provider to partner and simultaneously transforming internally.

The Accenture technology vision identified five emerging technology trends that are essential to business success in today’s digital economy. They include Artificial Intelligence as a new user interface, Design for Humans, Ecosystem as Macrocosms, Workforce Marketplace and The Uncharted.