Science & Technology

UK Tech Bosses Urge Focus on AI Skills in High-Stakes Election

Currently, in the United Kingdom, local executives in the technology area and entrepreneurs declare their desire for the next government of this country to focus on the development of skills related to artificial intelligence and on fiscal measures aimed at providing conditions for the implementation of the economic growth process.

Efforts in the technology sector in the context of the present configuration of what can be described as a kind of acting historical reality that continues to materialize now in the space of human civilization are appropriate and promising both in terms of potential short-term results and in the context of long-term positive consequences. Currently, the world as a matter of being of mankind is experiencing the era of digitalization. Against the background of this trend in the tangibility space, it is obvious that the development of technology is a kind of the main driving force of the movement of human civilization forward. In this context, it is also worth noting that artificial intelligence belongs to the category of the most crucial sources of appropriate evolution, bringing the future closer, in which a new configuration of reality will be formed, including in economic and technological dimensions. In a practical sense, it is important for any country to respond to the specifics of modernity. In the context of technological development, this means that the state needs to be involved in the relevant process. The armed forces, industrial capabilities, and natural resources are still of great importance as components that form what can be called the country’s power. However, in modern conditions, technological development is becoming increasingly crucial. The internal political and geopolitical positions of the state will not be maximized in the case of a kind of backwardness from the point of view of the mentioned parameter. In the era of digitalization, access to technology determines economic prospects and is a significant factor influencing the country’s position in the space of international relations. For example, artificial intelligence is not a highly specialized product and can generate, among other things, profit by using it in certain workflows. It is also worth noting that the importance of technology continues to grow, and currently, there are no signs that the corresponding process will slow down, stop, or start moving in the opposite direction. The logic of the historical movement in the context of the current state of development of human civilization testifies in favor of this above assessment of prospects.

The general election of deputies to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom will be held on July 4. The business community calls on the country’s political forces to implement efforts aimed at achieving growth in economic development indicators. Representatives of this environment also say that the leadership of the United Kingdom should focus on forming a regulatory framework that contains favorable conditions for technological innovation. Moreover, the business community notes that UK politicians need to pay attention to a long-term vision of development that will help strengthen the country’s position in the international arena.

It is worth noting that for the specified community, it is not a matter of principle who exactly will be in Downing Street, the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak, or the leader of the Labour Party, Keir Starmer. According to representatives of the business community, the next government is likely to take into account the interests of technology companies on a rapid growth trajectory as part of its activities.

Currently, in the United Kingdom, one of the main goals of technology executives is to develop innovations in the artificial intelligence industry. They are also interested in fostering AI-oriented skills in citizens over several generations. Against the background of the fact that artificial intelligence is becoming the main driving force of progress in the global sense of the relevant process and is actively integrated into various spheres of activity, the specified skills will gradually transform into a necessity and cease to be what can be described as an additional opportunity or a kind of bonus proficiency.

Top managers of the UK technology sector, in private conversations and as part of official statements, declare their confidence that the focus of any government should be on skills that allow a person to feel better equipped in the process of interacting with large language models or in the practice of operating with other machine intelligence tools. They also note that an extremely negative scenario is the loss of control over artificial intelligence. It is worth noting that in this case, what is meant is not a kind of call for regulation, but skills that allow users to fully utilize AI technologies and products based on it.

Zahra Bahrololoumi, UK and Ireland CEO of Salesforce says that innovation is moving very quickly towards autonomous artificial intelligence. According to her, skills are necessary to form the ability to implement and use machine intelligence responsibly, applying the right controls and protocols. It is worth noting that autonomy is one of the most intriguing prospects for the development of artificial intelligence. It is also important that the mentioned concept can have two interpretations. Autonomy can be understood as the ability of artificial intelligence to function without an Internet connection. This is a kind of elementary interpretation. Autonomy can also be defined as a term implying the transformation of artificial intelligence into an independent, in a sense unitary substance of digital thinking, capable of development without outside support. The corresponding perspective actually means what can be described as the emergence of a new form of mind that exists in the virtual dimension. Against this background, concerns are growing about what kind of behavior model artificial intelligence will choose after achieving absolute independence. At the same time, it is widely believed in the expert community that a person will not lose control over AI.

Salesforce, which is based in San Francisco, US state of California last week held a technology conference in the United Kingdom called World Tour London. During this event, the enterprise software giant hosted several major customers and partners promoting growth and prosperity through new technologies such as artificial intelligence. On the sidelines of the conference, the CEO of the company in the United Kingdom and Ireland spoke about what actions the new UK leadership, in her opinion, would be most appropriate. During a conversation with media representatives, Zahra Bahrololoumi stated that one in ten feels equipped with artificial intelligence. According to her judgment, skills are necessary to adopt and use AI responsibly, with the right controls and protocols. She stated that this issue is something that needs to be given priority attention. It is worth noting that digital technology skills are a prerequisite for competitiveness in both a private and global context.

Matthew Houlihan, senior director of government and corporate affairs for the UK and Europe at US enterprise tech firm Cisco, said that the next government of the United Kingdom should strive to make the country a leader in the area of innovation and emerging new technologies, including artificial intelligence and quantum computing. According to him, the time has come to reconsider approaches to essential aspects of the country’s digital economy. He also stated the importance of supporting the introduction of technologies and strategies for security so that the benefits of virtual solutions can be felt by as many people as possible throughout the United Kingdom.

It is worth noting that many executives of UK technology companies do not talk about which political force, in their opinion, will be able to most successfully achieve the mentioned goals. At the same time, it should be attention that they declare the position that technological development is the main thing for them, outside the context of who exactly will implement the relevant efforts. This is reported by the media.

Last month in the United Kingdom, dozens of executives, entrepreneurs, and investors signed an open letter stating that they are supporters of the Labour Party. This letter also notes that it is time for a change. The relevant statement is probably evidence that in the opinion of the mentioned executives, entrepreneurs, and investors, the Labour Party is precisely the political force that is capable of implementing serious fundamental changes. Among the signatories of the letter were several influential names in the world of UK tech, including Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, Founders Forum co-founder Jonathan Goodwin, and Atom Bank CEO Mark Mullen.

The specified collective statement also notes that the economic system of the United Kingdom has faced sensitive and significant negative circumstances, which have become facts of objective reality as a result of ten years of stagnation. According to the signatories of the letter, the mentioned state of affairs was formed against the background of instability in the UK political environment. They also noted that the United Kingdom is currently facing the problem of not having a consistent economic development strategy.

Rishi Sunak probably does not agree with the mentioned opinion of the signatories of the letter. According to him, the population of the United Kingdom will need time to really feel the momentum of the economic growth. This statement means that Rishi Sunak is much more optimistic about the state of the economic situation compared to the opinion of the signatories of the letter.

According to official data, the gross domestic product (GDP) of the United Kingdom for January-March of the current year showed an increase of 0.6% year-on-year. It is worth noting that in the second half of 2023, the mentioned indicator was in the zone of moderate recession.

The last four years have been a period of difficulties and efforts for London to overcome the adverse circumstances that have formed in the space of reality. The United Kingdom is in a kind of territory of economic instability. In this case, one of the factors that shaped the current state of affairs was the coronavirus pandemic, which became a source of sensitive impact on the entire global economy. Consumers are facing an increase in the cost of living. At the same time, the business community increases costs under the pressure of circumstances shaping the current economic situation.

In September 2022, the United Kingdom faced the shock effect of the so-called mini-budget of then-Prime Minister Liz Truss. In this case, a set of economic measures and tax cuts are meant. The mini-budget was announced by then-Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng. The corresponding strategy provided for 45 billion pounds of unfunded tax cuts. After that, there were shocks in the markets. Also, the consequences of the mini-budget were the weakening of the pound and the increase in the cost of government borrowing and mortgage rates. Many experts have described this set of measures as a disaster. The consequences of the mini-budget still continue to be sensitive impact factors. UK tech bosses are currently looking for stability and certainty.

Rishi Khosla, CEO of British digital bank OakNorth, said during a conversation with media representatives that over the past two years in the United Kingdom, political forces have formed a consensus opinion that business is important for the country’s economic growth. This opinion also provides for a statement of the significance of the fintech sector and entrepreneurship.

Rishi Khosla stated his desire that any political party that comes into power after the July elections adhere to an activity strategy that contains an understanding of the importance of business in the context of economic growth prospects. It was also noted that it is crucial that the country’s leadership does not commit actions contrary to the mentioned concept, within the framework of potentially likely populist measures.

One of the reasons for the current frustration of the United Kingdom’s technology leaders is that none of the major political parties has provided a business incentive program. Also, so far, the political forces have not explained how they intend to interact with the business community and the high-tech industry, which is on an intensive growth trajectory.

During anonymous conversations with media representatives, technological bosses from the United Kingdom stated that they did not have an understanding of exactly what plans and strategies of action were envisaged for those who would run in the July elections.

British Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt this year announced new tax breaks and investments that will help the UK become a global leader in fast-growing industries. Also, during a conversation with media representatives, he announced plans to launch new tax-cutting measures if the conservatives are re-elected in July. In this context, Jeremy Hunt noted that priority will be given to business taxes, which stimulate investment activity and economic growth. He did not tell about other details of his plans.

At the same time, the Labour Party has made a voluntary commitment to continue to limit the headline corporate tax rate to its current level of 25%. Also, this political force intends to maintain certain tax reliefs, including for research and development, in full. The Labor Party plans to publish a roadmap for business taxation if the results of the upcoming elections turn out to be victorious for this political group.

As we have reported earlier, UK Seeks to More Transparency Into AI Models.

Serhii Mikhailov

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Serhii’s track record of study and work spans six years at the Faculty of Philology and eight years in the media, during which he has developed a deep understanding of various aspects of the industry and honed his writing skills; his areas of expertise include fintech, payments, cryptocurrency, and financial services, and he is constantly keeping a close eye on the latest developments and innovations in these fields, as he believes that they will have a significant impact on the future direction of the economy as a whole.