Artificial Intelligence (AI) companies in the UK raised £488 million last year – that’s more than double than in 2016, according to new figures released by funding database PitchBook.

The UK has a reputation for being a hot bed of AI companies. In recent years, fast-moving AI start-ups have been acquired by big players for big money.

These include DeepMind, bought for $400 million by Google, and Microsoft’s $250 million purchase of SwiftKey.

And to some this is causing concern. Some of the greatest minds in the world, including Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk, have expressed worries about the unfettered advance of AI.

We may regard it as the latest, coolest area of technology but actually AI theory has been around since the 1950s.

British mathematician Alan Turing was one of the founding fathers and lends his name to the “Turing” test. This determines if a robot is able to perfectly mimic human behaviour to the extent it would fool a human.

More recently, it has been the impact of AI on jobs making headlines. As more private and government funding is invested, there have been predictions humans will be put out of work by robots.

While it’s true AI could see some short-term losses, it could also boost economic productivity and, thereby, create many new jobs.

AI can also offer companies an opportunity to become more efficient and create value by removing time-consuming admin. Many futurists argue that, by taking over more mundane tasks, AI will actually attract more employees to take on more interesting and satisfying roles.

One surefire way to keep yourself on the cutting edge of technology, especially in the realms of IT and Engineering, is to seize every training opportunity that comes your way . . . then push for more.

By embracing upskilling, including gaining soft skills – the hardest for androids to master – alongside industry-specific training will help you stay one step ahead of the bots.

There are also other ways to retain your human value in the workplace.


There is nothing quite so frustrating as dealing with software or an automated service that doesn’t get what you really want.
Paying attention to details in a human-to-human conversation and acting on them can save time and money for your company.


Where an AI system might deal in binary code to come up with a yes or no to any problem, you can use your industry know-how and human instincts to rectify or preempt potential problems.


‘Getting’ your boss or client is without doubt the top skill to develop in any IT or Engineering job. Robots are unable to pick up on the subtleties of human nature. But by reading between the lines and picking up on body and facial language, you’re more able to reach goals and solve problems.


Research shows humans and robots working in tandem actually produces the best results. Daniela Rus of the AI lab at MIT describes how, when analysing medical images for signs of cancer, AI systems had an error rate of 7.5%, humans had an error rate of 3.5%, but when they worked together the error rate was 0.5 per cent. Message is: if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

Why not bring your human touch to IT and Engineering roles?