A new report from techUK has outlined how the future of work might look as artificial intelligence takes an increasing foothold.

In ‘Making AI Work for Britain’, the trade association suggests nine key actions for government and businesses to integrate AI in the workplace and increase productivity.

The UK, already a global leader in AI readiness, stands at the forefront of a transformative wave, says techUK. Research commissioned by Google and conducted by Public First estimates that AI tools could contribute over £400 billion to the UK economy by 2030, equivalent to an annual growth rate of 2.6%. 

At the heart of this transformation is generative AI, which has the potential to save the average UK worker over 100 hours per year.

While it is likely that many tasks currently undertaken by people may be automated by AI, the net impact on jobs is much harder to predict. Historical data suggests that technological innovation creates new opportunities. 

The synergy between humans and AI has the potential to drive productivity growth, freeing workers to leverage their human skills, creativity and expertise, argues techUK. 

As the UK grapples with an ageing population and declining working-age population, achieving productivity growth is imperative. The adoption of AI is likely to be uneven, potentially disadvantaging late adopters: hence, the report calls on the government to intensify efforts to support digital adoption by firms across the economy.

The report urges immediate steps to support businesses and individuals as they navigate AI-driven work transformation.

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Clarity on AI Laws: Provide clear guidance on how existing laws apply to AI at work, including data protection, equality, and health and safety legislation.

Invest in Training: Reform the Apprenticeship Levy, incentivise SME uptake, and ensure funds can be spent on a wider range of accredited courses.

Spotlight Pathways: Create a Digital Skills Toolkit 2.0, an accreditation framework for modular courses, and a Tech Industry Placement Scheme.

SME Support: Establish a Digital Growth Fund to help SMEs adopt digital technologies, including AI.

Champion Flexible Work: Legislate for a right to request flexible and remote working from day one, create a Single Enforcement Body, and support flexible work initiatives.

Anticipate Labour Market Changes: Staff the Central Function to forecast AI’s impact, launch an independent commission on automation and emerging technologies.

Promote Lifelong Learning: Create a flexible Lifelong Learning Entitlement, support modular and remote learning, and extend maintenance loans to distance learners.

Collaborative Regulatory Environment: Establish a forum for stakeholders to address AI-related issues, provide sandboxes for responsible workplace innovation, and expand funding for AI adoption.

Support Local Authorities: Review the Local Digital Fund, enhance the British Business Bank’s role, and collaborate with local authorities on digital skills programs. The report showcases real-world cases illustrating how AI is already supporting people at work, improving product and service quality, and streamlining business processes across diverse sectors. From human resources and customer service to marketing, sales, biomedicine, and sustainability, AI is poised to revolutionise work in numerous fields.

Antony Walker, deputy CEO of techUK, said: “We are at the dawn of a new era of digital technology in the workplace. A new generation of AI-enabled digital tools is rapidly emerging, with the ability to undertake tasks that could previously only be done by people. These new tools will ultimately be applied across the economy, impacting all aspects of employment.”

“To deliver on the promise of AI, governments will need to build on existing efforts to improve digital skills and accelerate digital adoption by businesses.”

The full report can be downloaded here.

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