AI to have bigger impact on UK than Industrial Revolution: Deputy PM

London: UK Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden says artificial intelligence (AI) will have a bigger impact on the country than any other event in the history including the Industrial Revolution.

“This is a total revolution that is coming,” Dowden said in an interview given to a prestigious British publication. “It’s going to totally transform almost all elements of life over the coming years, and indeed, even months, in some cases.”

“It is much faster than other revolutions that we’ve seen and much more extensive, whether that’s the invention of the internal combustion engine or the Industrial Revolution.”

However, he also warned of the future challenges generated by the AI, saying it posed a significant threat to democracies, citing the “deep fake” images as an example, which, according to Dowden, could be used to influence public opinion and perhaps pose a risk to the democratic process.

“In the electoral environment, we’ve had challenges for the past five or six years in terms of misinformation, disinformation.”

Terrorists too could use AI to gain knowledge about dangerous material or conduct widespread hacking operations, he said.

About the positive side, the British deputy prime minister said AI would allow governments to ensure faster decision-making. “The thing that AI right now does really well, it takes massive amounts of information from datasets in different places and enables you to get to a point where you can make decisions.”

But at the same time, he added, “Ministers are never going to outsource to AI the making of decisions.”

He admitted the growth of AI would lead to a significant restructuring of the economy, but promised that the government would ensure the process did not penalise humans.

“We have a very tight labour market and the job of government is to make sure that people can transition,” he said. “Ultimately, AI should have the capability to do the boring bits of jobs, so that humans can concentrate on the more interesting bits.”