Artificial intelligence (AI) has continued to gain prominence in 2017 as one of the biggest upcoming technologies. It is beginning to have more of an influence on companies’ strategies and is predicted to drive significant change for organisations.
The most significant AI stories of 2017 included a report that the UK government was set to spend almost £1bn on AI over the next four years as it looks to drive productivity. Other stories highlighted Russia and Dubai being among the countries making use of AI technology, with the latter adding an autonomous “Robocop” to its workforce.
But there are several issues surrounding the AI trend, such as the lack of diversity among engineers and the increasing skills gap.
Experts forecast that AI technology will be a key technology in the years to come. Here are Computer Weekly’s top 10 AI stories for 2017.
1. UK government to invest almost £1bn in AI
The government is set to invest £93m in AI over the next four years as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. It hopes to drive productivity by developing the technology and using it in environments such as nuclear energy, deep mining and offshore energy.
2. Investment sector to spend $2.8bn on AI in 2021 and could replace 230,000 jobs
Financial services consultant Opimas has said the investment sector will spend $2.8bn on AI technologies, such as machine learning and cognitive analytics, in 2021. It also predicts that these technologies will replace 230,000 jobs by 2025.
3. Lack of diversity in AI engineers could create gaps in the technology
Engineers creating AI come from similar backgrounds, which could create problems with the technology itself, according to panellists at the World Economic Forum. One of the issues is that an AI face recognition system may not be able to identify an African American.
4. Russia utilises AI throughout various sectors
AI is playing a role in various industries in Russia, including checking for fraudulent purchases made through Yandex, the so-called Russian Google. Other uses include self-driving trucks, a project run by automotive company KamAZ.
The Dubai police force has created a robot to help fight crime, which is able to judge people’s expressions and emotions. The machine was introduced after the announcement of the Smart Dubai 2021 strategy, through which Dubai aims to become a global leader in smart cities.
6. UK faces skills dilemma due to Brexit and lack of home-grown talent
Despite increasing demand for AI, the UK is at risk of not having enough people educated in areas such as software development, and those with expertise could leave the country because of Brexit.
7. Company CEOs sign letter to governments to prevent autonomous weapons
CEOs from 115 organisations have signed an open letter to governments advising against the deployment of autonomous weapons. The letter describes this scenario as the “third revolution in warfare”.
8. AI playing an increasingly important role in the Nordics
Companies in the Nordics are beginning to incorporate robotics process automation or software robots into their processes as a way to deal with repetitive tasks. Sparebank 1 SR-Bank, for example, is using a virtual customer service agent that can handle the workload of 40 human counterparts.
9. The NHS needs a culture changes before embracing AI
Experts have said AI could play a significant role in helping the NHS to deal with its current challenges. However, the organisation must first go through a culture change, with one of the main barriers being the fact that the service is still too reliant on paper.
10. Australia hosts robotics competition for IAEA
Australia has hosted a competition with robotics experts to find a technology that can track nuclear fuel for the International Atomic Energy Association. This would ensure that any spent fuel from nuclear power stations cannot be used to make weapons.