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PwC appoints AI lead in the UK

Jobs for those with hands-on AI, machine learning and data science experience has exploded in recent years

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A friendly hand to help in the transition to AI processes
A friendly hand to help in the transition to AI processes

The professional services firm PwC has appointed its first artificial intelligence (AI) leader in the UK. Those who fear the rise of the robots will be relieved to hear that it is a human being: an individual with more than 20 years consulting experience by the name of Euan Cameron.

 

He will reportedly work closely with PwC’s 800-plus data and analytics specialists and collaborate with teams across the company to help colleagues and clients embrace automation.

 

While jobs for those with hands-on AI, machine learning and data science experience has exploded in recent years, the move is significant because it gives artificial intelligence representation at senior level and in a company that is instrumental in shaping the future.

 

It is likely other appointments will follow at other high-profile firms. PwC published its 20th CEO survey at the World Economic Forum in Davos this year which revealed that more than half (52 per cent) of CEOs globally are exploring the benefits of humans and machines working together. Japan is one of the leaders with three-fifths (62 per cent) of its CEOs actively considering positive ways for humans and machines to work together.

 

The intersection between artificial intelligence and smart cities is huge. AI features in many of the projects that are aiming to make cities more sustainable, resilient and better places to live and work. The same leadership that is starting to be seen in private enterprise when it comes to AI needs to show itself in the public sector, especially from those involved in creating smart cities. It is too big a technology to be siloed.

 

As well as practical challenges, PwC’s survey found that more than half of business leaders see emerging technologies as a potential threat to trust levels in their organisations over the next five years. Embedding AI into projects is a complex process and needs strong leadership at the top to manage it properly.

 

It is Infrastructure Week in the US and data is central to many of the projects being showcased such as the City of Charlotte’s use of Siemens’ City Performance Tool, a virtual planning and software platform, featured by SmartCitiesWorld this week. The tool has helped to identify 16 smart building and transportation technologies that will benefit the city.

 

As the volumes of data build, AI is the only thing that can help smart city leaders make sense of and extract maximum value from the information that exists in our databases and systems. It isn’t about becoming totally reliant on machines or automating humans out of a job, but rather learning to work together.

 

Sue Weekes,

News editor

 

 

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