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AI news - Fri 4th Aug 2023

A week of no new model releases (phew, we can finally catch up), but as always there is a lot going on in the AI space.


The highlights


News Stories

  • AI Skills for Everyone - Google offering free AI training in the UK

  • Public Opinion - McKinsey have published their annual AI report, The state of AI in 2023: Generative AI’s breakout year

  • Regulation - AI has been identified as a chronic risk to National Security in the UK


Weekly Extras

  • Company to watch - Inflection AI who are “creating a personal AI for everyone”. They have created a compassionate chatbot Pi . You recognise two of the founders - Mustafa Suleyman (co-founder of DeepMind) and Reid Hoffman (founder of LinkedIn) (Website)

  • An interesting listen - Reid Hoffman’s AI podcast - particularly the first episode on compassionate AIs (Listen)

  • An interesting read - [Shameless plug] our founder Laura wrote a blog on making ChatGPT your friend (Read)

  • An interesting read - A LinkedIn summary about AI regulation regarding the future of work on LinkedIn by (Read)

  • An interesting watch - The USA’s National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee (NAIAC) briefing on the benefits and risks of open source AI model (Watch)

  • Good to know - Uber told Bloomberg they are building their own chatbot (Read more)

  • Good to know - Additional features added to GPT4 (the paid version) were announced by OpenAI:

  • AI in real life - Birmingham council is trialling AI cameras to “catch fly-tippers red-handed” (Read more)

  • AI in real life - For the first time, AI has helped a paralysed man “move and feel again” (Read more)

  • AI in real life - Early results suggest AI matches humans in breast cancer screenings (Read more)


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Google offering free AI training in the UK


AI Skills for Everyone

Of course this is our top story of the week, our mission as a business is to make sure everyone is AI and data confident. And it seems Google are also on a path towards this.


Two courses - Boost your productivity with AI and Understanding Machine Learning have been announced for UK businesses (and individuals). They will be run on Youtube once in August, September and October.


These courses are being launched to supercharge AI development and leadership in the UK. Which seems to be a stamp of approval for the AI landscape in the UK from Google.

Debbie Weinstein, Vice President of Google and Managing Director of Google UK & Ireland has called for more work to be done in lifelong learning to address the UK’s skills gap: “That’s why alongside this new AI training, we’re calling for a new National Skills Service to identify, offer and accredit lifelong learning that will help close the UK’s digital skills gap and prepare people for future opportunities.”


Random side note - if anyone can point us to how to get involved in this, we are very keen!


If you cannot wait until 15th August to take these courses, we can recommend Google’s online introduction to Generative AI.


Further Reading


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McKinsey Report - The state of AI in 2023: Generative AI’s breakout year

Background

McKinsey are a professional services firm, they are a highly trusted source of information and every year produce reports on public and business perspectives of important topics. For example, their 2018 report, Skill shift: Automation and the future of the workforce, is often quoted and used in discussion around AI and robots taking our jobs (report).


Generative AI

As the title suggests, this report focuses on Generative AI, or more specifically “the explosive growth of generative AI (gen AI) tools”. The report is based on survey responses by over 1,500 people from different organisations and industries. The headline findings from the report (report) are:


  1. It’s early days still, but use of gen AI is already widespread

  2. Leading companies are already ahead with gen AI

  3. AI-related talent needs shift, and AI’s workforce effects are expected to be substantial

  4. With all eyes on gen AI, AI adoption and impact remain steady


Some key statistics we found interesting:

  • 55% of businesses were using AI in at least one function

  • Those using more AI, expected a higher level of reskilling would be needed in the next 3 years

  • Service operations is expected to have the biggest decrease in staff numbers due to AI (50%)

  • 7% of companies have hired prompt engineers

  • Three quarters expect gen AI to change their industry significantly


The report findings are very interesting - firstly they show AI adoption is higher than we expected. It also shows there is becoming a divide between “AI high performers” and other businesses. In a similar note to Google announcing free courses, the McKinsey report highlights the need for AI training and education across all sectors of business.


Further Reading

We suggest checking out the graphs and more in depth report (McKinsey report)

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AI has been identified as a chronic risk to National Security in the UK

What is actually going on?

Does this mean killer robots are here? No, no. Let’s explain - every year the Government releases National Risk Register 2023 (Read). This year the report included a section on chronic risks which included a section on Artificial Intelligence. The foreword by the deputy Prime Minister also mentioned technologies, such as AI, “transforming our world – bringing with them opportunities, but also a number of risks”.


Specifically the report mentions AI risks potentially causing an increase in harmful mis- or dis-information, and potentially reducing economic competitiveness. For context, the other chronic risks are: climate change, antimicrobial resistance and serious organised crime.


We welcome this level of concern around AI - it does not feel hyperbolic or unreasonable. It also does not feel to be scaremongering. It is needed and realistic.


The House of Lords Report

This follows on from some work carried out by the House of Lords - around risk and regulation of AI (Report). The report is a great resource to understand AI better. The list of risk is more detailed, and includes AI arms race, unintended consequences, economic inequality and privacy concerns.


The report was also debated in the House of Lords, which can be watched or read here.


The House of Lords, the National Risk Register and other politicians including Labour's Darren Jones are calling for a joint strategy to overcome these potential risks to society (iNews article).

Further Reading

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