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Press Release

Did the AI Safety Summit go far enough? 43% of UK businesses call for more AI funding

Wed 20 Dec 2023

Image of Rishi Sunak Credit: Number 10, Flickr

The UK Government recently held the AI Safety Summit at Bletchley Park to discuss the safety and regulation of artificial intelligence, which is growing rapidly in prominence.

A recent study by Zoho has revealed that 43% of UK businesses are calling on the UK Government to increase funding for the development of AI technologies.

This call aligns with the goal of establishing the UK as a global leader in AI, a sentiment echoed by 71% of businesses surveyed who believe the UK is a leading technology hub.

Sachin Agrawal, Managing Director of Zoho UK, reflected on the outcomes of the Bletchley Park AI Safety Summit: “The AI Safety Summit was a great starting point for addressing AI and the concerns that surround it.”

Agrawal praised the gathering of global intelligence and influencers, and emphasised the importance of ongoing dialogues in the face of advancing technology.

The Zoho study also found that 46% of UK respondents are advocating for increased Government regulation to protect businesses from AI threats, while 39% seek more regulation for AI’s safe development.

This echoes common concerns raised during the Summit, particularly regarding AI’s potential risks and ethical implications.

Agrawal added: “AI has proven itself as a useful tool in areas such as customer service and fraud detection … however, fears around bias, job loss, and data protection remain.”

He stressed Zoho’s advocacy for trustworthy AI and highlighted the need for proper policies, guidance, and business training to ensure responsible AI use and data protection.

The Safety Summit, according to Agrawal, laid a solid foundation for AI development. However, he called for a concerted effort between Government, industry, and academia to fully understand and implement AI in business.

The £500 million AI funding announced in the Autumn Statement was acknowledged as a positive step, with the hope for more guidance on its deployment and impact on businesses.

Addressing the ongoing skills shortage in AI, the study indicated that 30% of respondents want the Government to offer training courses and guidance to support workforces in AI usage.

In response to wider industry concerns, the Government has announced a £118 million boost to AI skills funding, aiming to alleviate skill-related challenges in the field.

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