Saturday, July 13, 2024

Tony Blair Discusses How UK Should Embrace AI Going Forward

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After elections, many experts, both within and outside of politics, are concerned about how the UK will manage, regulate, and use AI and tech to best support the nation’s needs. “The hardest part of coming into government is recognising that the skill set that brought you to government is not the same as the skill set you need to stay there,” explains former UK PM Tony Blair.

In relation to this, he recently released “Tony Blair: My advice to Keir Starmer” as a way to guide the newly elected MP, Starmer, on how the local digital world should proceed. The letter, published on The Times covers AI, and the use of digital IDs as the main topics.

Digital Identification And The Future Of Immigration

Speaking at a London conference hosted by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, Blair endorsed the uses of digital IDs and why they could be useful. He brought up the ongoing conversation about digital ID systems by saying that the government needs to improve with public services, and enforce stricter immigration processes.

He also said, “We need a plan to control immigration. If we don’t have rules, we get prejudices. In office, I believed the best solution was a system of identity, so that we know precisely who has a right to be here. With, again, technology, we should move as the world is moving to digital ID. If not, new border controls will have to be highly effective.”

Tony’s Vision For AI Use In The UK

Blair mentions that AI could reduce time when working in the public sector by 20%, which in turn would save the economy £10 billion every year: “The spread of the application of AI by the private sector and its encouragement by appropriate government policy is the only answer to Britain’s productivity challenge and, over time, it can turbocharge growth,” he added.

At the conference held by his Institute, and in his advice piece, he detailed AI’s benefits in different industries. One such industry he details is education; AI could help teachers handle admin related tasks as a way to reduce manual labour. That way, education overall becomes more productive from both the student and teacher’s side.

Experts Share Their Views On The Advice

Bradley Rice, partner at law firm Ashurst, shared: “AI is another huge opportunity for the UK to restate its place at the international table, drive economic growth, boost productivity and increase jobs and skills in the country. The new Government would do well to lay down a promising early marker of its intent.”

Greg Hanson, GVP for EMEA North at Informatica shares his views, saying, “It’s clear that technology offers a vital opportunity to differentiate and grow. AI and data are major trends that will enhance services, boost productivity, transform industries, and crucially drive growth and employment.

“Today’s announcements from the Tony Blair Institute highlights a need for how the UK can remain at the forefront of disruptive technologies.
And it offers reassurance about our commitment to competing as a high-tech nation.

“Yet it’s important not to underestimate the challenges that come with the adoption of new technologies like AI. Nearly all businesses in the UK who have adopted AI have encountered roadblocks – 43% say AI governance is the main obstacle, closely followed by AI ethics (42%).

“For the transformative powers of AI to be successfully realised, we still need to tackle some of the spiker challenges that it poses.

“Alongside considering the quality and reliability of data that is feeding models, there needs to be careful consideration about whether large language models can account for a diverse range of emotional responses and whether organisations have the right skills in curiosity to use AI systems effectively. In the race towards AI, these are important considerations that need to be managed carefully to ensure AI can service the public good effectively.”

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