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7 February 2022

Artificial Intelligence in the workplace is at a pivotal point, and businesses need to embrace this new way of working to keep ahead of the competition, according to a new book published by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT. In The Autonomous Enterprise, renowned technology industry analyst Sarah Burnett predicts how machines will increasingly do the bulk of routine transactional office-based work. 

Ms Burnett argues that this change isn't necessarily negative and doesn't mean that AI will take over. Staff, for instance, will still be needed to handle the more complicated or sensitive issues that an automated system can't. Plus, there will be an increasing need for people with a mix of technical and non-technical skills to design, implement and monitor the software and the automated business processes. With many real-life examples, the book explores and illustrates the massive potential of AI for innovation and the importance of embedding ethics in every step.

Ms Burnett makes the point that as we scrabble to emerge out of the pandemic, with rising inflation and highly strained supply chains, it is crucial to understand how AI applications can help address business problems both in the short-term and the future. She highlights the importance of ethical development and the adoption of AI and technology as a whole and said: ‘These are exciting times for AI in the world, but we do need to learn from past mistakes to guide AI development along an ethical path. The typical organisational model and how we work are going to change, and I don't mean just working from home, although that will be a part of the change. Corporate decision-makers need to understand the opportunities and the risks that the changes will bring, and learn how best to navigate the journey and the shifting competitive landscape.’

No previous knowledge of AI is assumed, so the book is suitable for anyone looking to find out more about practicalities. The prime audience is business managers or executives who want to gain insights into the technology and its potential for their businesses.

Case studies include Calderdale Council, Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, Siemens Global Business Services, and Wärtsilä Marine Power.

Russ Shaw, CBE, Founder of Tech London Advocates & Global Tech Advocates, added: ‘AI is the buzzword that businesses claim to have embedded, but in reality, many have struggled to adapt and underpin their companies with true AI capabilities. In this book, Sarah Burnett seamlessly makes the concepts and implementation of AI accessible to all business leaders looking to undertake the digital transformation journeys necessary for their companies to survive and thrive using the true benefits of AI.’

About the author

Sarah BurnettBCS Fellow Sarah Burnett is a renowned technology industry analyst and international speaker who advises enterprises on intelligent automation, ethical uses of technology, competitive strategies and market trends. She helps intelligent automation technology vendors successfully formulate their product direction, go to market strategies, and apply ethical policies.

Sarah is a strong advocate for women in technology. She chaired BCS Women for four years and continues to work with the group as chair of AI Accelerator, which she founded in 2017. AI Accelerator is a programme of free AI events and webcasts by experts to inform and educate participants, to make AI knowledge and technology accessible to more people.

Read more from Sarah about innovation, automation and how to normalise AI for the next generation

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