Survey says majority of UK CEOs believe AI will transform how they do business

UK CEOs divided on government's role in regulating AI technologyImage: Survey says UK CEOs divided on government's role in regulating AI technology. Photo: courtesy of Gerd Altmann/Pixabay.

A majority of UK CEOs, at 72%, reckon that artificial intelligence (AI) will change how they do business in the coming five years, as per PwC’s 22nd annual CEO Survey.

However, the surveyed 228 UK CEOs are a divided lot when it comes to what extent the government needs to involve itself in framing rules and regulating the development of AI technology.

PwC found that 70% of UK business leaders are fine with the government-led nationwide strategies and policies on AI. A majority of them, at 63%, believe that the government should have an integral role in the development of the disruptive technology.

As far as regulation is concerned, less than half of the surveyed UK CEOs, at 47%, think organisations should be permitted to self-regulate the use of AI, while 44% disagree on the same.

PwC said that the CEOs were also divided on the question of who should own the responsibility for job losses and retraining of staff. Under half of the UK business leaders, at 49%, said that it is the government’s responsibility to give a safety net to workers who lose their jobs due to AI, while 41% think otherwise.

Almost two-thirds of UK CEOs, at 65%, believe that the government should incentivise organisations to retrain workers whose jobs will be automated.

PwC’s survey showed that 35% of UK CEOs intend to deploy AI into their businesses in the coming three years, while 36% have no thoughts of using the technology.

The auditing giant said that of the business leaders who had no plans to pursue AI, 76% flagged the lack of supply of skilled workers as the main reason. On a question whether AI will become as smart as humans, 42% of them agree, while an equal amount of the surveyed UK CEOs disagree.

PwC UK artificial intelligence leader Euan Cameron said: “Businesses have high expectations for what AI could deliver so it’s important that AI policies around the world are fit for purpose. Regulation shouldn’t stifle innovation, but it should make sure we’re creating a future that works for everyone.

“Leaders and AI experts need to work closely with policymakers, regulators and standards institutions to ensure that the right governance is in place to support their ambitions, but crucially also keeps wider society and workers’ best interests at heart.”

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