Michelle Donelan, the UK’s Science and Innovation Secretary, appeared via video at Google’s London headquarters to commend the tech giant for its efforts to provide workers and leaders with fundamental artificial intelligence (AI) skills.
Donelan expressed her enthusiasm for the expanding use of AI tools like ChatGPT and Google’s Bard, highlighting the potential for significant advancements in people’s lives.
She lauded Google’s comprehensive and ambitious training program, emphasizing its importance.
The UK, aiming to become a leading hub for AI, has been particularly accommodating to tech companies, with the government actively wooing AI firms.
Google’s educational courses cover the basics of AI and are designed to equip individuals, businesses, and organizations with the necessary skills in this emerging technology. The courses, consisting of 10 modules presented in 45-minute sessions, already offer modules on growing productivity and understanding machine learning.
The initial course, attended by around 50 people, including small business owners, took place at Google’s King’s Cross offices in London. The training program, initially launched in the UK, is expected to expand to other countries.
DeepMind, Google’s AI research subsidiary, is based in the UK and plays a pivotal role in the company’s AI development.
However, concerns about the rapid expansion of AI and its potential impact on the job market and society have been raised. Google, along with other tech giants like Microsoft, Amazon, and Meta, is aggressively developing AI tools to gain a competitive edge in what some perceive as a winner-takes-all competition.
The introduction of Google’s Bard chatbot and Meta’s open-source AI model, Llama 2, further intensifies the race. While AI offers immense opportunities, experts warn about the need for caution and regulation to address issues such as privacy, security, and data limitations.
The UK government, recognizing the risks and benefits of AI, is seeking to strike a balance between upskilling the workforce and regulating tech firms like Google.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has shifted his stance on AI, planning to host a global summit on safety in the technology and positioning the UK as an international hub for AI regulation.
The rapid adoption of AI chatbots and tools has raised concerns among UK managers, who fear potential job losses, security risks, and privacy issues.
According to the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), 43% of managers expressed concerns about job security due to AI technologies. In comparison, only 7% believed their employees were adequately trained in AI, even on high-profile tools like ChatGPT.
Anthony Painter, the CMI’s policy director, emphasized the need for practical skills and regulatory structures to navigate the AI landscape effectively.