During yesterday’s Budget announcement, technology made several appearances with over £500 million pledged to technology investments. Chancellor Philip Hammond said that “the world is on the brink of a technological revolution” and the investments are designed to ensure the UK is a global leader in tech advancements.
Here at PCM we definitely agree that technology is not going away, and in fact is going to be more ingrained in our home and work lives in the future. Here we round up some of the key announcements in regards to technology, and add our take.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Scary robots taking over the world or helpful tools to automate daily tasks? Whatever you think of AI, there’s going to be a pot of money worth £75 million for AI development. £20 million will go to businesses developing Artificial Intelligence technology, but what we’re most excited about is the £9 million earmarked for an AI advisory board in the UK.
Our take - AI has been shown to adopt the prejudices of its developers (conscious and subconscious) which could lead to discrimination based on race, gender, affluence and many more factors. An advisory board can help to ensure that the developers behind AI are more diverse. There’s a great article on The Guardian’s website called “Rise of the Racist Bots” and is definitely worth a read!
You might not even be able to get 4G in some areas, but the budget focused on the roll-out of super-fast 5G internet connections across the UK. With 5G expected to be introduced by the end of the decade, it is estimated that 500,000 new masts will need to be built to support the increased demand. Given the rise in ‘connected devices’ through the Internet of Things, the current infrastructure isn’t likely to be able to support the UK’s usage for much longer.
Our take - We develop IoT devices and develop software that relies on good internet access. Improvements in connectivity and speed around the UK in rural and heavily populated areas will open up opportunities for everyone.
‘Cars of the Future’
Whilst electric cars are growing in popularity, it can still be hit or miss whether you’re able to charge your car at home, and access charging points in any given location. The budget included a £400 million infrastructure fund for the construction of more charging points around the UK and £40 million for research into making charging points more efficient and ensuring that new houses are built with the right cables required for electric car charging.
To make electric cars more affordable, an additional £100 million will be added to the “plug-in-car” scheme where grants are given to people buying electric cars.
Our take - The PCM are often on the road between customer locations, so having more affordable and reliable electric cars would definitely be a bonus! A lot of our customers also use vehicles in their day to day operations, so cheaper and cleaner travel will benefit them too.
Computer Science Teachers
The new wave of technology will require a new group of technology experts, and the Chancellor announced funding for a new National Centre for Computing and training for 8,000 new computer science teachers.
Our take - improving the digital skills gap will be essential if the UK doesn’t want to fall-behind in terms of technology. More young people will be ready for jobs that new technology creates.
Date published: 23/11/2017