A Government-funded research project to identify the challenges and friction costs that, if addressed, are likely to speed up adoption and diffusion of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and similar new technologies by professional services firms, and to propose solutions that the sector can implement.
The project focuses on mid-sized firms as this is the segment where intervention is likely to have maximum impact on the continued success of the overall sector.
Senior researchers from the business schools of Sheffield, Lancaster and Manchester; The University of the Arts London; the Forum; and specialist futures consultancy Normann Partners. Confirmed project supporters include: ICAEW; ACCA; ICAS; The Law Society; and The Law Society of Scotland. The project is funded by UK Research & Innovation, an independent Government agency, and the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, working through the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
Rather than focusing solely on the opportunities and threats of AI technologies, the project aims to:
There are some 600 law and accountancy firms with UK revenues between £5m and £250m. Only 2% are likely to be directly involved in exploratory prototyping of solutions. A public competition may be organised for these privileged places.
The Forum has formed three AI consortia for the 98%. Their primary purpose is to cascade knowledge from visionaries to pragmatists to conservatives. They will also inform the project, road-test emerging insights, and disseminate project findings.