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Beyond the hype: A practical insight into the implementation of artificial intelligence models as part of London Tech Week 2024

Posted 17 Jun 2024

Artificial intelligence (AI)  is one of the hottest topics in the world of digital technology, with its potential to streamline work practices, inspire creativity and foster greater connections with the customer on an individual level. But how can businesses harness the power of AI in a meaningful way, getting beyond the hype to drive positive interventions across the UK economy, and society more broadly? 

With London Tech Week returning in June 2024 to celebrate everything and everyone in UK tech, Digital Catapult in partnership with Odgers Berndtson opened its doors to over 100 industry experts and thought leaders to hear from a diverse panel of AI experts to explore the opportunities and challenges that AI brings.

Deep Tech: Powering UK Growth: 10 June 2024 (Image by Kirsten Holst)

Throughout this insightful session, our panellists shared their expertise to discuss how successful implementation of AI models takes clear vision, careful planning and collective execution.

Five key takeaways from this lively panel discussion include:


1. AI can help make companies run more efficiently and boost human creativity 

From the creative industries to cybersecurity and beyond, AI has the potential to improve efficiency and unlock human creativity by freeing up time to concentrate on more highly creative tasks. 

Gemma Jennings, Product Management Lead at Google Deepmind highlighted that large language models (LLMs), such as  Google Gemini, have the benefit of working at scale which means they have the ability to improve and optimise people’s day-to-day work. Tino Millar, Founder & CEO of, which creates 3D motion capture content from 2D video with AI, explained how video game and film production companies are benefiting from AI.

Moreover, in the cybersecurity sector, the adoption of generative (Gen) AI and LLM, and training those models around specific behaviours, can transform analysts’ ability to rapidly “observe, orient and act”.  For example, James Todd, CTO at Adarma explained that if a cyber security company is observing an IP address or asset identifier, historically this would mean having to undertake the labour-intensive task of going back to configuration management databases or HR records to determine who that was and to assess the value of that asset to the organisation. Combining the implementation of AI alongside a  ‘human in the loop’ approach, allows companies to accelerate this process – utilising the best of human and tech skills – to significantly reduce the time it takes to analyse and respond to a cyber threat. 

2. Can you afford NOT to embrace AI? Lessons learned from the cybersecurity sector

Given the potential power of AI to help respond rapidly to cyber threats, the effective implementation of artificial intelligence is a top priority across the cybersecurity sector. The approaches taken and lessons learned can also be applied to other industries, including understanding and managing the risks and opportunities associated with AI.

Julian Meyrick, a former managing partner for global cybersecurity, strategy, risk and compliance at IBM, stressed that from a national resilience perspective, embracing AI isn’t optional, it’s critical.

The issue of trust in data is a key challenge across the cybersecurity sector – including acquiring, understanding and managing data. Julian Meyrick also highlighted that the proliferation of deep fakes and misinformation around global elections shows the importance of data management and how data cannot necessarily be trusted; it demonstrates the need to regularly monitor and manage data effectively.

Deep Tech: Powering UK Growth: 10 June 2024 (Image by Kirsten Holst)

3. The “why” and the “what” are critical when introducing AI into a business

With the hype around Gen AI leaving many companies believing that they should be introducing the technology into their business, Gemma Jennings advised that business leaders should think carefully about the reasons why, as well as what the use cases are for adoption. For AI to be truly impactful, having a clear idea of the outcomes is key – for example, is it about optimising workflow and helping employees work more efficiently, or could it be about improving the customer experience? 

Additionally, understanding how to measure success is equally as important. For example, is improving customer acquisition and retention a key objective, or is it about boosting productivity levels? 

4. Collectively consider risks

Exploring and understanding the risks around the introduction of AI is also critical for successful adoption. Developing a risk framework unique to each company’s individual needs, and educating employees to ensure they understand the positive attributes – and risks – of using AI is crucial for businesses looking to introduce AI to their operations.

James Todd highlighted that organisations need to understand the associated risks around implementation and the underlying capability that businesses require, including the risk brought by models and algorithms created internally, in addition to the inherent risks and vulnerabilities that can occur through the adoption of AI. 

The panel agreed that companies need to take a cross-organisational and joined-up approach to addressing risk. Gemma Jennings explained that at Google, responsibility is shared across teams – from product managers through to research scientists and ethics team members and beyond. This collaborative approach gives the organisation the chance to pressure test innovation and stretch its thinking. 

Adding to ideas around collaboration, Tino Millar noted that companies could learn from the creative world, developing a sandbox where teams can take an iterative approach to AI development and implementation, allowing them to safely explore big gains and value for the company and protect from unwanted risk.

Deep Tech: Powering UK Growth: 10 June 2024 (Image by Kirsten Holst)

5. We’ve got the talent in the UK – but this needs to be nurtured and supported by investment

The UK is renowned as a hotbed of talent and innovation in the development and application of AI – but for this to continue, we need to work collectively. Although the UK is very good at innovating with relatively low budgets, ongoing investment is essential in this fast-emerging ecosystem – especially to support our buoyant startup community to thrive.

James Todd highlighted that the UK’s strength lies in effective relationships between industry, academia and government, which is central to driving productivity and key capabilities so that the UK can stay ahead of the game. Moreover, Tino Millar highlighted that startups play a key role by pushing the boundaries of our thinking, as well as the ecosystem of practitioners asking the hard questions to maintain our position as a global hub for AI innovation.

Beyond the hype, it is clear that artificial intelligence is a technology that has the potential to drive business value and positive societal change. By bringing together industry leaders and innovators, shaping the development of products and de-risking innovation, Digital Catapult is at the heart of technology development and adoption of AI in the UK through programmes such as Innovate UK BridgeAI. Coupled with Odgers Berndston’s expertise in ensuring businesses have the right leaders with outstanding professional standards, we are ensuring the UK has the firm foundations needed to respond effectively to rapid change and make a positive impact on the ethical development of AI, and contributing to the UK’s position as a global leader in cutting-edge technology.


Find out more about Digital Catapult’s work in AI and cybersecurity

Digital Security by Design (DSbD) is a government-backed initiative to transform technology and create a resilient, and secure foundation for a safer digital future. Through collaboration between Digital Catapult, researchers, industry and government, these new capabilities will free the way business and people use and trust technology. Sign up to the DSbD newsletter to stay up to date with upcoming events, news, insights and opportunities.

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Innovate UK BridgeAI, delivered by a consortium including Digital Catapult, The Alan Turing Institute, STFC Hartree Centre, and BSI, empowers UK businesses in high-growth sectors, driving productivity and economic growth through the adoption of AI. The programme bridges the gap between developers and end-users fostering user-driven AI technologies. Be the first to know about BridgeAI upcoming activities, tools, events and resources.


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