Artificial intelligence

‘Inevitable’ jobs will be more automated, says new AI adviser

  • By Zoe Kleinman
  • Technology Writer

July 17, 2023


Tech entrepreneur Ian Hogarth has been in his role as chair of the government’s new AI task force for five weeks

Protecting UK jobs will be a challenge as artificial intelligence systems become more advanced, the new head of the government’s AI task force has told the BBC.

Ian Hogarth said it was “inevitable” that more jobs would become increasingly automated.

The whole world will have to rethink the way people work, he added.

“There will be winners or losers globally in terms of finding jobs using AI,” he said.

This week BBC News focuses on AI, how the technology affects our lives and what impacts it could have in the near future.

But others believe that these developments will also usher in many new human jobs that currently do not exist, much like the rise of the internet.

Capture the benefits

He said he was concerned about AI’s potential to cause harm – for example with wrongful arrest if used in law enforcement, or generating malicious computer code that results in increased cybercrime.

But he was also careful not to miss out on the benefits of these technologies.

Notably in healthcare, AI tools are identifying new antibiotics, helping people with brain damage regain movement, and being trained to detect early symptoms of disease.

Mr Hogarth said he once built a tool that could identify signs of breast cancer in scans.

The group he will lead has been given an initial £100million to oversee AI safety research.

He wouldn’t say how he intends to spend the money but that he thinks he’ll know if he’s been successful in the job if “the average person in the UK starts to feel a benefit from AI. “.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has made AI a key priority and wants the UK to become a global hub for the sector. Someone who knows him told me more bluntly: “He’s obsessed with it.

But the UK faces several challenges in positioning itself as a key player in this lucrative and fast-evolving tech field.

Emma McClenaghan and her partner Matt run an AI start-up in Northern Ireland. They’ve built an AI tool called Wally that generates websites and have ambitions to make it a more general digital assistant.

The company has won awards, but is still struggling to access the specialized chips – called GPUs (graphics processing units) – that it needs to further develop its product.

“I think there’s a lack of access to hardware for start-ups, a lack of expertise and a lack of funding,” she said.

source of images, Emma McClenaghan


Emma McClenaghan says the best outcome for her and Matt Eaton’s company would be for it to be bought by an American tech giant

She said they waited five months for a grant to buy a single GPU – at a time when in the US Elon Musk would have bought 10,000.

“It’s the difference between us and them because it’s going to take us, you know, four to seven days to train a model and if it’s [able to] do it in minutes, then you know, we’re never going to catch up.”

In an email discussion, Ms. McClenaghan told me that she thinks the best outcome for her company, Gensys Engine, would be for it to be acquired by an American tech giant – something I hear a lot from British start-ups.

Renewing these ambitions to keep businesses successful here in the UK and help them grow is another challenge.

“A fundamental element”

Trying to access GPUs might be less of a problem if they were available as part of national infrastructure, such as road networks or power cables, rather than being scooped up by companies that can afford them.

Ian Hogarth thinks this could be the way to go.

“I think we’re going to enter a phase where nation states are starting to see their role in directing critical AI infrastructure in a new way,” he said.

“It will be a fundamental part of the next generation of innovations.”

Despite trials to come, he is optimistic that the UK can still take its place at the center of the AI ​​revolution.

“I don’t think we’re too late,” he said.

“I wouldn’t have taken the job if I thought there was not much we could do.”

Follow Zoe Kleinman on Twitter @zsk


Leave a Reply