UK companies warned to invest in AI or risk losing 20% cash flow

In a world of constantly advancing technology, companies in the UK are at risk of losing 20% of their cash flow if they do not invest in AI soon, McKinsey has warned.

The UK’s economy has potential to be boosted by 22% within the next decade alone if companies utilise AI, with fast-paced companies having the potential to see an increase of 120% when co-operating with artificial intelligence.

In the report created by McKinsey Global Institute, they claim that with the UK having a higher potential to be more AI ready than the world’s average, the time to invest in AI is now, or there is the risk that companies may miss out on the opportunity for growth.

The report has stated that: “The United Kingdom has impressive pockets of innovation but is failing to scale to business more broadly.”

An example of success that the report gave was of a company called Magic Pony, an AI firm created by graduates of Imperial Collage London and bought out by Twitter for $150 Million in 2016.

Another firm which the report mentioned was Deep Mind, another artificial intelligence firm which was bought by Google for an estimated $400 million in 2014, making it Google’s biggest European acquisition at the time.

In order to become successful in the field of AI, the report claims that companies must forge links in AI, invest in technologies and offer AI at scale.

Invest in AI: is there a negative?

Using AI in our everyday lives may seem like something from a sci-fi film, but many businesses now use artificial intelligence in order to try and make developments in the world around us. This includes businesses like Synap, who created a student revision app using AI, and Status Today, a company that monitors and tries to prevent negative human behaviour.

Criticisms in the development and use of AI are not unheard of as founder of Tesla, Elon Musk has previously warned over the dependence on AI becoming dangerous.

At a South by Southwest tech conference last year he stated: “The biggest issue I see with so-called AI experts is that they think they know more than they do, and they think they are smarter than they actually are.

“This tends to plague smart people. They define themselves by their intelligence and they don’t like the idea that a machine could be way smarter than them, so they discount the idea — which is fundamentally flawed.”

However, the recent McKinsey report suggests that the as the UK is at the top of Europe’s AI developments, companies should peruse technological advancements in order to gain a higher economic development.

AI in the UK versus the USA

In terms of the UK compared to the US when it comes to using AI, there is already a 20% gap, which is continuing to grow.

When asked about issues with AI, like the worry of machines taking over human work, Tye Brady, Amazon’s chief technologist in the USA told the BBC: “The challenge that we have in front of us is how do we smartly design our machines to extend human capability.

“You extend human capability. And when you gain productivity, then you have the ability to create new jobs that were unimaginable five years ago.”

The British government are now dedicated to making the UK one of the word leaders in AI, having already put in £300 million last year in the hopes of boosting the economy by £232 billion.

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