Since ChatGPT launched almost one year ago, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has shown it can replicate and refine human conversations to an extraordinary level.
Look across any industry and you can see AI being put to work. From Dŵr Cymru utilising AI to monitor algae in reservoirs to the Welsh Government’s data project that aims to identify those most at risk of homelessness. Some people have even argued that this technology could be the most important invention since electricity.
Then there’s the entrepreneurial spirit and expertise shown by firms such as Cardiff-based digital security firm PureCyber. AI degree courses are also popping up at universities from Aberystwyth to Swansea
There are around 240,000 Google news articles currently online about AI – with some even being written with the aid of ChatGPT, or alternative chatbots such as Bard or BingAI. Against this tide of information, Welsh businesses are looking to both the UK and Welsh governments to help unlock the technology’s efficiencies and productivity potential.
CBI Wales believes more widespread use of AI could add £38billion to the UK’s Gross Value Added (GVA), with Goldman Sachs research suggests an almost $7 trillion uplift worldwide.
Alongside this is a need to balance innovative AI entrepreneurship and effective AI adoption by Welsh businesses with a safe and secure environment, particularly in national security.
The Bletchley Declaration, signed by 28 countries at the UK Government’s AI Safety Summit last week, pledged to tackle the risks and marked impressive progress towards the event’s objectives.
The Prime Minister was joined at the event by US Vice President Kamala Harris, EC President Ursula von der Leyen, Wu Zhaohui, China’s Vice Minister of Science and Technology and Sam Altman, CEO of the OpenAI project that launched ChatGPT. X / Tesla owner Elon Musk also added some further interesting thoughts on how AI could impact employment more broadly.
In terms of outcomes, the announcements of a new AI Safety Institute and AI Research Resource are potentially useful steps towards setting up institutions that will provide firms with clarity on AI’s potential and how they can deploy it. Similarly, the prospect of further summits represents another serious statement of intent as the UK strives to be a global leader in AI.
The Prime Minister said at the Summit that traditional legislative measures will not be able to keep pace with such advanced developments. However, he said AI firms would probably be required to make some binding commitments to AI model transparency, welcoming the decision by firms – including Meta, Google and OpenAI – to allow regulators the opportunity to vet their products before they are released.
Heading into 2024, CBI Wales will be keen to see how the UK and Welsh governments could support the technology adoption, including AI, by businesses as an important mechanism to tackle skills and labour shortages. Good AI adoption should improve people’s performance and boost productivity, not serve as a way to replace valued skills and expertise.
Putting in place easy-to-navigate rules that support businesses to effectively leverage this game changing tool can ensure AI remains a force for good. With the right approach, the AI business community in Wales can be a world leader.