Wales needs to pioneer emerging technologies, says government committee

Wales needs to be a provider and not just a consumer of emerging technologies, according to a recent National Assembly Committee meeting.

The Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee believes that the nation has the capabilities and resources to become a world leader in areas such as artificial intelligence.

Innovations like IoT, automation and AI will dominate the world over the next few decades, and the National Assembly is urging Welsh innovators to put the nation on the map.

It said the Welsh Government needs to identify and invest in areas where Wales is already excelling, such as compound semi-conductors, insurance and healthcare.

During the inquiry, the Committee also explored areas such as precision agriculture, autonomous vehicles and future skills needed to become a technology powerhouse.

As well as investing in the technology sector in Wales, the government is also being urged to transform school curriculums. It’s estimated that 65 per cent of students will be in working in professions that don’t currently exist.

“The growing body of studies and reports concerning automation and Artificial Intelligence, or AI, give a range of outcomes,” said Russell George AM, chair of the Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee.

“It is clear that failure to prepare will be preparing to fail in this brave new world. We hope this report generates discussion – not just in the corridors of power, but among a wide range of businesses, across sectors and out in the streets of Wales.”

The committee also explored the challenges associated with automation. It was told that adults will need to retrain in order to excel in the fourth industrial revolution.

A string of recommendations has been made as a result of the meeting, which includes the government supporting these emerging industries and jobs.

Mr George added:  “The challenges of automation and artificial intelligence have the potential to dominate the next 30-40 years.

“It is vital Wales is ready not merely to respond, but able to shape the debate, so that rather than being blown away by strong winds of change, we can harness them to propel our sails.”