UK businesses falling behind by not embracing AI

(Image credit: PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek / Shutterstock)

British businesses have been urged to embrace AI technology to help the country become a hub for development and innovation.

A new report from Microsoft has highlighted that the UK has "a clear opportunity" to strike out as an AI leader, but is currently being held back by the fact that many businesses don't have a concrete technology plan.

The report, which surveyed over a thousand business leaders and 4,000 workers across the UK, found that companies that have already begun using AI are already seeing tangible benefits.

UK AI use

Overall, more than half (51 per cent) of the business leaders surveyed revealed they do not have an AI strategy in place to address the changing needs brought on by rapid technology innovation.

These changes are so severe that 41 per cent stated that they believe their current business model will cease to exist within the next five years.

Despite these worries, many businesses seem unwilling to change or alter their current practices, with less than half (46 per cent) of UK leaders saying they thought it was worth re-training their current workforce - despite nearly two-thirds (59 per cent) of workers saying they are open to experimenting with AI to do new things at work. 

As a result, just 18 per cent of employees say they are actively learning new skills to help them keep up with future changes to their job as a result of AI, and 41 per cent saying they thought AI will push out older workers within the next five years. 

“AI represents a huge opportunity, but only if UK organisations embrace its application in the right way," said Clare Barclay, chief operating officer, Microsoft UK. 

"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.”

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.