Digital skills, infrastructure & innovation will drive economic growth

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Digital skills, infrastructure and innovation will drive economic growth, according to DCMS


The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) today announced its new digital strategy, emphasising the importance of new digital technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to the future of the UK economy.

According to Accenture AI technology could add in the region of £654 billion to the UK economy by 2035. As a result the Government is proposing a major review headed by Wendy Hall and Jérôme Pesenti to examine how the sector works and crucially what the Government can do to ensure UK firms are the best and most innovative in the world.

Machine learning and AI are integral part of much of modern marketing. It is this technology that drives many of the intelligent services and recommendations we have come to rely on in our daily lives. From music and film streaming services to online chatbots and disruptors to traditional industries like Uber, this technology is constantly evolving and being used in new ways to provide better experiences to customer.

The data that AI and machine learning rely on is often the same used by marketers to ensure that their communications are personalised and relevant. Government backing for the skills and infrastructure the sector will need to continue to innovate will also drive further growth in data-driven marketing.

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said: “The UK’s world-leading digital sectors are a major driver of growth and productivity, and we are determined to protect and strengthen them. This Digital Strategy sets a path to make Britain the best place to start and grow a digital business, trial a new technology, or undertake advanced research as part of the Government’s plan to build a modern, dynamic and global trading nation.”

The rise of smart devices exponentially increases the number of touch points in society gathering data. As such, there will be ever more increasing opportunities for marketers to gain insight to create better experiences for customer, so it’s great that the Government has realised the potential in this space.

However, a quick word of caution, as organisations must ensure they have the trust of consumers to use AI tech and use smart devices. Read our article on the recent Vizio case in America to see how companies can get it wrong and alienate their customers.

But, back to the Government’s new digital strategy. They are not viewing this purely from a marketing perspective, of course. They see massive potential regarding health as AI can help diagnose diseases and track patterns of ill-health in certain areas, for example.

Furthermore, jobs in the sector tend to be highly skilled and highly paid, which is exactly the type of economic development the Governments wants. UK students are increasingly taking up STEM subjects so they can fulfil these expert positions in the future.

In an announcement last year about a technology innovation fund, Bradley said: “Technologies like AI have the potential to transform how we live, work, travel and learn, and I am pleased that Professor Dame Wendy Hall and Jérôme Pesenti will be leading this review. It’s great that Government and industry will be working together to drive growth in the sector, to realise all the economic and social benefits for the UK.”

The DMA believes today’s announcement is fantastic news for the data-driven advertising and marketing industry. It is illustrative of a shift within DCMS, as the department now recognise the value of the creative industries and the world leading position the UK has.

The new focus on the creative industries will be good for the sector and bring with it with benefits of increased investment and innovation.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “Investment in robotics and artificial intelligence will help make our economy more competitive, build on our world-leading reputation in these cutting-edge sectors and help us create new products, develop more innovative services and establish better ways of doing business.”

Part of the plan includes a funding boost of £17.3 million to support the development of new robotics and artificial intelligence technologies in universities across the UK. Welcome news.

DMA Managing Director, Rachel Aldighieri, said: “Technology has continued to change our day-to-day lives at a rapid pace over the last 15 years, leading some commentators to refer to this as the fourth industrial revolution. Reaping the benefits of this innovation requires investment, so it is great to see the Government recognising the opportunity and putting a plan of action in place to keep the UK at the forefront of this revolution.

“Within the creative industries we are already seeing the contribution that AI and machine learning can offer. Enabling brands to better understand their customers and offer them a more interesting, relevant and useful experience. I believe that this innovative technology will be one of the key drivers of the UK’s continued economic growth post-Brexit. To see this success come to fruition we need the Government’s commitment to further develop skills and infrastructure, so we welcome today’s announcement.”

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