AI’s rise is ‘most profound’ tech shift to impact ‘all of our lives’, Google UK chief says

‘This is a fundamental technology shift that will impact all of our lives’

Vishwam Sankaran
Wednesday 05 July 2023 04:52 BST

Related video: Microsoft chief says AI is ‘not an existential risk’ to mankind, but human oversight needed

The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) is the “most profound” technology shift of our lifetime with the potential to “turbocharge” the UK’s economy, according to a new report by Google.

Artificial intelligence, according to the report, can help turn around the UK’s recent growth stagnation and boost its economy by £400bn by 2030 by enabling an annual growth of 2.6 per cent.

The tech giant’s UK and Ireland boss Debbie Weinstein called the transformation ushered in by AI in the tech industry “the most profound platform shift that any of us have lived through”.

While some jobs are likely to be lost to AI, there will also be a “whole new set of jobs that will be created”, according to the tech chief.

“We are very conscious of the impact that this technology will have on people,” Ms Weinstein told PA.

“We want to make sure everyone has the skills they need. We’re aware that this is a fundamental technology shift that will impact all of our lives,” she added.

Google’s new report comes amid widespread fear of the impact disruptive AI technology could have on several spheres of life, including privacy, the education sector, industry and jobs.

Recently, professor Geoffrey Hinton, widely called the “godfather of AI” for his research contributions to the field and its impact, resigned from his job at Google, expressing fear that the AI tools he helped build could spell humanity’s doom.

He cautioned that “bad actors” could use new AI technologies to harm others.

“It is hard to see how you can prevent the bad actors from using it for bad things... I console myself with the normal excuse: If I hadn’t done it, somebody else would have,” he said.

A growing number of experts across the world have called for AI development to be slowed down or halted as the potential for the technology to be misused has come to light following the launch of tools like ChatGPT and Midjourney.

Google agrees in the new report that regulation is vital as AI technology develops, and adds that is “actively collaborating” with regulators around the world.

The company is reportedly in favour of launching a “national skills agenda” involving governments, firms, and educational institutions to ensure that workers are not left behind as AI technology develops.

“This nuanced approach is important if the UK is to pursue a competitive advantage in attracting inward investment associated with agile regulation,” Google noted in the report.

“We’re aware of the fundamental change and the importance of getting it right while managing the downside risks,” Ms Weinstein told PA.

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