Is the tech sector to blame for the slow uptake of AI?

17-Jul-2019

“Widespread ignorance coupled with the disruptive tech sector using confusing language is to blame for the slow uptake in AI by small businesses in the UK,” according to a former leading advisor to the UK Government and now CEO of Runagood®.

“The language used isn’t rooted in practical everyday applications. Unfortunately, the agenda has been grabbed by big players to make a lot of noise as to how clever they are, dreaming up esoteric uses and ignoring the day to day that makes sense to small businesses,” founder of the world’s first AI-driven business advisor, Duncan Collins says.

Collins, who advised the Thatcher and Blair governments on small business, believes SMEs need to be directed to AI development investment projects by ‘small business panels’ in order solve everyday problems such as increasing customer base, retaining customers, raising business efficiency, increasing profits and cash flow, improving productivity, forecasting and diversification planning, and growing business value.

Collins, who spent seven years developing an AI based business advisory software agrees with former grand chess master Gary Kasparov regarding the potential and trajectory of AI. “Manual labour and artificial intelligence will take out the drudgery work (of which business consultancy is 90%) leaving the other 10% to human creativity which AI will never match. That puts up the quality of advice at the same time as bringing its cost low as to make it affordable by all i.e. democratisation.”

Garry Kasparov, became the first world champion to lose to a computer when he was beaten by IBM’s Deep Blue in 1997. At an event in London recently, he used his opening keynote to suggest artificial intelligence and tech would soon replace most ‘zombie jobs’.

Runagood® CEO, Duncan Collins, who has invested £1m of his own money to help SMEs use artificial intelligence to enhance businesses says it is the speed that really distinguishes the AI software, “The basics are not all new, we are using the same business consultancy techniques advocated by FW Taylor and Peter Drucker, the fathers of modern business advice. And these we used to good effect in raising UK small business international competitiveness from 21st to 7th place between 1988-2010, when government support stopped. What is strikingly different is speed. Runagood® technology automates the time-consuming stuff and gets help out to the masses by appointing accountants as Runagood® Business Centres operated by AI Business Advisor®s right into the communities where small businesses are struggling.

“It all works online for speed and convenience. That said, we need to combat the anti-entrepreneurial / risk-averse nature of accountants and resistance to change by experienced consultants. This will take a ‘Barefoot Doctor’ approach I predict, more likely driven by young people setting out in a new career with flexible minds and a trust in tech.”

According to Collins, accountants, consultants and other small business advisors, are in a position to harness the power of AI right now but choose not to.

So his message to micro-businesses when choosing an advisor is to ask “Can you tell me where my business is now, where it should be, and can you tell me in plain English exactly how you propose using fast technology to transit me from my today to my desired tomorrow, affordably?”. If you don’t understand what they tell you, neither do they, so avoid,” Collins says.