More and more companies are getting switched on to AI — but will it be enough to make the UK a "tech superpower"?

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A new study by Amazon Web Services (AWS) has revealed a substantial surge in artificial intelligence (AI) adoption among UK businesses.

The boosted AI adoption, equivalent to a 31% increase between 2022 and 2023, is predicted to contribute as much as £520 billion to the UK economy by 2030, up from £413 billion in 2022, itself a considerable 26% increase.

The report indicated that as many as two in five (39%) British businesses have already incorporated AI into their daily operations. One in three (33%) noted that AI had become more important since 2022. However, despite the positive outlook and the UK Government’s ambitious plans to make the UK a science and technology “superpower” by the end of the decade, AWS noted some key challenges that could be hindering progress.

Is the UK on track to become a tech superpower?

Despite the positive outlook, the research emphasizes the existing digital skills gap that has been threatening companies globally. It is believed that only 13% of businesses find it easy to hire staff with good digital skills, with the process of finding appropriate staff taking an average of 7.5 months.

Away from business, UK consumers are also increasing in excitement over the technology, with three in five (59%) believing that AI could help address big societal challenges, like climate change and disease control. Others noted its potential to transform key sectors like education, manufacturing, entertainment, healthcare, and retail.

Moreover, the study identified opportunities for growth in areas with lower digital adoption, including Wales and the South West of England. On the other end of the scale, London, the South East, the North East, and the North West were considered to be among the highest adopters of AI.

With two-thirds (68%) of AI adoption concentrated in the technology, telecoms, financial services, professional services, and construction sectors, that leaves a further 16 sectors having to share out the remaining 32%, highlighting the disparity between industries.

However, besides drawing attention to the sectors and regions that lag behind, AWS’s study also highlights the potential for huge growth in artificial intelligence across the UK as others play catch-up, which could not only boost the country’s economy, but place it several steps further along its journey of becoming a tech superpower.

The study concludes with exactly that message – barriers like digital skills gaps and the uneven spread of AI must be addressed, however on a more positive note, the UK “is set to meet its ambition of becoming a tech superpower as early as 2028.”

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Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!