Overcoming the 5 Key Barriers to AI Adoption in the UK

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Trilateral Research |

Date: 18 April 2024

Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing industries across the UK, driving innovation and efficiency. However, many organisations still face challenges in realising AI’s full potential. The recent techUK report, “AI Adoption in the UK: Putting AI into Action,” highlights five key barriers hindering widespread AI implementation. In this post, we’ll explore these obstacles and identify the strategies required to overcome them. To do so, we will look at the findings of the report itself and our experience of building STRIAD:Honeycomb and CESIUM® here at Trilateral Research.

1. Data Quality and Accessibility

High-quality, accessible data is essential for training AI systems. Companies must invest in robust data infrastructure and establish clear governance frameworks to ensure suitable datasets are available. Collaboration between industry, government, and other third parties can help address this issue by promoting data sharing and creating open datasets.

2. Building Trust in AI

Fostering trust is crucial for AI adoption. Organisations must prioritise transparency, explainability, and bias mitigation in their AI solutions. This involves developing AI systems that align with ethical principles and conducting regular audits to ensure trustworthy operation.

3. Organisational Understanding and Culture

Limited AI knowledge within organisations can hinder adoption. Business leaders must educate themselves and their teams about AI’s benefits and limitations. Fostering a culture of innovation and establishing clear guidelines for AI development can ensure a consistent approach throughout the organisation.

4. Computing Infrastructure

Insufficient computing infrastructure poses a significant barrier, particularly for resource-intensive AI applications. Organisations should invest in scalable, high-performance systems or leverage cloud computing platforms to handle the processing demands of AI workloads.

5. Bridging the AI Skills Gap

The shortage of AI talent is a pressing concern. Businesses should invest in training and upskilling programs to develop AI expertise within their existing workforce. Collaborating with educational institutions and promoting diversity in the AI community can help attract new talent to the field.

Trilateral Research: How we address these barriers

At Trilateral Research, we are committed to overcoming these barriers to develop ethical AI solutions that tackle complex social issues. Our featured use cases, STRIAD:Honeycomb and CESIUM®, exemplify how we use sociotechnical methods to do so. These sociotechnical methods involve fostering collaboration between data scientists, social scientists, ethicists, data protection advisors and other domain experts to create technology while consistently evaluating and addressing its potential societal impacts.

STRIAD:Honeycomb is our AI application that combats human trafficking. It overcomes the barrier of data quality and accessibility by leveraging Natural Language Processing (NLP) tools co-designed with domain experts and trained using in-house subject matter expertise. This ensures that human expertise, professional judgment, and the reality of human trafficking survivors’ experiences are integrated directly into analytical workflows, planning processes, and resourcing decisions.

CESIUM®, safeguards children using Ethical AI while tackling barriers of trust and organisational understanding. It augments Multi-Agency Child Exploitation (MACE) decision-making to improve child safeguarding arrangements. Our ethicists and data protection advisors, as well as end users from Lincolnshire Police were (all) active participants of the co-design process, ensuring the development of explainable AI (XAI) features which demonstrate the importance of algorithm output features. Considering the sensitive nature of the data, this collaborative approach helps overcome trust barriers and promote AI understanding within the agencies involved.

The techUK report emphasises the barriers organisations face in AI adoption. By addressing data quality, building trust, fostering organisational understanding, investing in infrastructure, and bridging the skills gap, the UK can unlock AI’s full potential. Trilateral Research remains dedicated to developing innovative, ethical AI solutions and collaborating with the wider community to drive positive change. Together, we can overcome these barriers and harness AI’s power for the benefit of all.

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