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More firms think AI use will be positive and not negative for jobs

Over 40% of firms expect that using AI will have a positive impact on turnover, profits, training and resilience. About 22% expect a positive impact on employment compared to 13% expecting a negative effect but most firms are unsure or expect zero impact of AI on jobs. The data are from a survey among British companies by LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance and the Confederation of British Industry. 

When asked about the reasons for adopting AI, around 20% said that replacing tasks previously carried out by people was a consideration (to “some” or to a “great” extent). But twice as many as this said that creating new or improved processes, or products and services were key considerations.

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The survey comprises 400 firms. It was made in May and is published in a blog post on LSE Business Review by Juliana Oliveira-Cunha, Policy Economist at International Growth Centre, based at LSE, Bruno Serra-Lorenzo, Research Assistant, LSE and Anna Valero, Director at Centre for Economic Performance. 

The most commonly adopted digital technologies in the 2020s are related to online sales and marketing, remote work, cloud computing, and cyber security, where 65-70% of firms made investments. 

AI is less widespread, with only a quarter of firms stating that they have invested in AI technologies during the 2020s, and another 23% saying that they have not yet invested, but plan to do so. 

“AI penetration appears highest in IT and marketing and sales functions, where nearly 30% of businesses are using or trialling AI, and 18% have plans to use it.” 

“Around 20% of firms said they were using or trialling AI in core business functions such as production, management and administration and engineering activities. So far, AI appears less widespread in transport, logistics and facilities maintenance.”

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