SMEs don’t want to use AI – it’s not safe enough for them

SMEs don’t want to use AI – it’s not safe enough for them

It seems that nearly half (43%) of all UK SMBs do not plan to integrate AI into their business within the next year, citing the safety of the technology as a concern.

A report from the Data & Marketing Association (DMA), found that only 17% thought that current regulations relating to AI were adequate enough, and a massive three quarters (76%) thought that the UK government should introduce more.

The report comes as the UK is about to hold its first global AI safety summit, where tech leaders and experts will convene with the government to discuss how to reign in the most powerful AI tools out there. 

Different levels of confidence

The report reveals the strong demand from SMEs for AI to be developed responsibly, and for safeguards to be put in place. 

Rachel Aldighieri, the managing director of the DMA, said that the summit will “[lay] the foundations for the UK to become a pioneer in how to drive responsible AI innovation,” adding that, “industry leaders and government must first work together to build industry ethical frameworks founded on core values such as accountability, transparency, and public safety and trust.”

Aldighieri believes that if this can be achieved, then business will start to gain enough confidence to use it and begin to “innovate in this space.”

But although she said that the DMA supports the government’s proposals to regulate AI more, Aldighieri also cautioned that, “a stringent regulation-first approach could stifle innovation and show mistrust to businesses.”

What business really needs is, “more direction, support, and structure from industry leaders and regulators to help them to use AI effectively and responsibly,” she added.

As for the benefits of AI development and adoption, 28% of SMEs thought the tech could help improve training and development. However, only 15% thought that it would boost the UK economy. 

For the DMA, this suggests that government should do more to contribute to upskilling and education within business to realize the true potential of the technology. 

Consumers, on the other hand, were most worried that AI would lead to jobs being taken (37%), as well as concerns surrounding privacy and information (34%), societal detriment (27%), and national security (24%).

Despite this, many were confident (66%) that the relevant UK regulatory bodies had the ability to keep pace with the technology’s development. 


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