We must trust AI to encourage SME adoption, says UK Tech Minister Saqib Bhatti

Establishing trust in Artificial Intelligence is essential if small businesses are going into integrate this new technology into their operations, says the UK Tech Minister.

According to recent research by the small business support platform Enterprise Nation, over half of the UK's small and medium sized businesses are starting to utilise AI technology to expand their business. But there is a concern for the 'lack of understand' among some businesses regarding how to use AI safely.

The report found that although there has been a growing interest in AI in small businesses, there is a lack of trust and confidence in how to use it correctly. This showcases the need for education and support for small businesses to navigate AI for effective, and safe use.

In response to the findings, Minister for Tech and Digital Economy Saqib Bhatti emphasised the importance of prioritising trust and transparency in all AI use.

Bhatti commented 'Obviously the demand is there and we as a government obviously recognise there's risks there as well'.

The UK Government recently invested £3.8 billion into digital training and skills aimed at helping businesses of all sizes to harness the full potential of AI. The Governments response is set to bridge the knowledge gap and give businesses the tools to leverage AI effectively.

Effective AI adoption of small businesses will contribute significantly to the national economy by freeing up business founders to focus more on strategic growth, leveraging AI capabilities successfully.

Tom Dunning, CEO of Ad Signal, said: "AI can transform a business's operations and boost efficiency to save vast amounts of time and money, but it is also important to remember the environmental impact that AI is having. The reality is that most businesses using AI don't actually need to use AI, they just jump on it because it's the latest trend. The network traffic that results from AI and the training of large language models has already had a detrimental effect on the environment and this will only rise exponentially while awareness remains low and more businesses blindly jump on the AI trends. Government, regulators and industry must collectively find a solution to reduce the carbon emissions caused by AI, before it causes irreversible damage."

Sjuul van der Leeuw, CEO of Deployteq, part of Inspired Thinking Group, said: "AI is a powerful tool that can have a major impact when deployed correctly, boosting growth, unlocking innovation, and turbocharging the wider economy. Yet this cannot be achieved without a level of trust between businesses and the AI technologies they are deploying. This requires collaboration between industry and government around the safe development of AI, as well as ensuring staff are fully equipped to harness AI's benefits to have a positive impact in areas such as marketing."