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Need for collaboration

Action call to meet ‘decade of disruption’

Stuart Mackay and Angela Prentner-Smith

Stuart Mackay and Angela Prentner-Smith

Business advisers are calling for greater public-private sector collaboration to prepare for a ‘decade of disruption’ that could see thousand of jobs automated.

Financial advisory firm Grant Thornton, and business transformation consultancy, This Is Milk, claim many companies and individuals have yet to recognise the cultural and economic shifts set to take place as machine learning, artificial intelligence and automation overtake service and people-based roles.

They say recent debate over Scotland’s economic prospects has focused primarily on politics, with Brexit and a potential second independence referendum dominating the agenda.

However, increasing globalisation and major technological advances could create unprecedented change, with thousands of traditional careers redundant and a shortage of skills in new tech-focused roles.

The two companies are calling for political and business leaders to focus more on digital readiness and increase investment to ensure that the country’s economy is prepared for a ‘decade of disruption’.

The firms recently brought together industry leaders in Glasgow to debate the topic, with widespread agreement that action is needed now to address Scotland’s tech-driven future.

 

Angela Prentner-Smith, founder and MD of This is Milk, said: “We’ve heard a lot in recent times about the new so-called disrupters in the industry, such as Uber and AirBnB, but that’s only part of the story. The pace of technological change is now so rapid that all businesses will face some disruption.

“Increasing automation and artificial intelligence poses a significant threat to jobs, but only if businesses and politicians ignore the change that is coming. By embracing new technology and using it to empower our business strategies, there’s an opportunity to develop a completely new, sustainable economy that benefits us all.”

Stuart Mackay, technology consultant at Grant Thornton in Scotland, added: “In the next ten years, the rate of technological development is expected to outpace what we’ve witnessed in the last century.

“An increasingly dramatic, complex world creates uncertainty, but there also many opportunities. Scotland’s tech sector is already flourishing with a raft of new global players, including games developers, life science firms and online retailers.

“The decisions and actions we take as a country over the next few years will be crucial. We need to focus on ensuring digital infrastructure is future-proofed, our students are up-skilled and ready to play leading roles in new industries and our wider economy is proactive about taking on the challenge of the disruption era.”

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