Research: Majority Of UK, Ireland Businesses Already Using AI

Some 84 percent of businesses in UK and Ireland already using AI in some capacity, with nearly one-quarter having broad implementations

Nearly one quarter (24 percent) of businesses in the UK and Ireland are “confident” about artificial intelligence (AI) and are already using it broadly across their organisations, while 84 percent are using it in some capacity, new research has found.

The study from technology research firm Slalom found 84 percent of businesses had already begun using AI in some capacity.

The figures show that companies are aggressively experimenting with and implementing the technology, even as governments in the UK, the EU, the US and elsewhere express caution over its possible effects on jobs and misinformation and attempt to formulate a regulatory framework.

Of the UK and Ireland businesses that said they were using AI, the majority, at 26 percent, said they were at an exploratory stage, having had a successful trial and were looking at how to integrate the technology.

Understanding the New European Union AI Law


Those who had already broadly implemented the technology, at 24 percent, were the second-biggest group, followed by 6 percent who said they were at a “pioneering” stage and had a full suite of  bespoke systems and were adopting a clear strategy.

The August 2023 survey, carried out by Censuswide, found 84 percent of companies trusted AI, with 97 percent of chief-level officers and 93 percent of business owners saying they trusted it.

For those who said the technology was trustworthy, this was largely because competitors were using it, at 24 percent, with 19 percent saying their opinion had been formed by media influence or, at another 19 percent, had been recommended by trusted content.

Some 31 percent of chief-level executives said their trust came from hands-on experience with the technology.

Core strategy

Security remained a prime concern, with 45 percent of respondents viewing increased data privacy risks as the biggest potential impact and 40 percent concerned about cyber-attacks resulting from their AI use.

Slalom president Dave Williams said it was significant that a portion of UK businesses deemed themselves pioneers and had a clear strategy integrating AI into their businesses.

“This is only going to grow as understanding of AI continues to improve,” he said.

“When incorporated into core elements of business strategy, the combination of AI and human capability is going to be what sets organisations apart from each other.”

AI safety summit

UK researchers at National Air Traffic Services, the Alan Turing Institute and the University of Exeter recently produced a “digital twin” computer model in which AI directs air traffic, in an experiment that could see AI used to help humans or eventually replace them in the critical field.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has identified AI as a key area and is promoting a landmark AI safety summit that is to take place in the UK in November.