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The Great AI Divide: OpEd Anna Grace Du Noyer

The AI genie is out of the bottle, granting wishes to those who know how to ask. But while some have found the magic words to harness its potential, many others still believe it's an elusive force,

Spent time with me recently? You will have heard the spiel. Sorry, clients. Sorry partners. And that guy  who I agreed to go on a date/give a free lecture to last week - I hope you learnt something useful.

I am a broken record on what I've coined 'the great AI divide'

Listen. No, really, you lot. This is important. When it comes to AI... GET ON IT. OR GET LEFT BEHIND

And I will keep repeating this like a... a very annoying repetitive thing... until EVERYONE is 'on it'.

The AI genie is out of the bottle, granting wishes to those who know how to ask. But while some have found the magic words to harness its potential, many others still believe it's an elusive force, reserved only for the uni-educated techy types (what some may describe as middle class - but not me, I do't belive in class labels. But that's once for another day... oh hang on. Here you go)

The real challenge lies in dispelling this myth and making sure everyone knows that the AI genie will grant their wishes too – it's free, it's there, and it's actually dead easy to use!

Artificial intelligence (AI) is much like a bottomless brunch; offering limitless fulfilment to those who dare to partake.

However, as we gather around this digital smorgasbord, a stark reality emerges: while we are all invited to join the fun, half of us didn't even RSVP.

 A chasm exists between those who rightfully reserve their spot, and the ones who decide it's not their kind of thing. The challenge, is to make sure  everyone feels comfortable to takes their seat for the banquet. Because we are all on the seating plan, and there is no top table.

There is a fear that prevents rightful participation. An unbelonging. Which cutlery do I use first? Is it ok to ask for tap water? What do I have to say? Can I just have chips? I get it.

Fear of AI is like distracting tang of a poorly balanced, acidic dish - think pickled oysters and tangfastics served with sides of tangerines - overshadowing the subtler, more familiar flavour of a delightful cream-cracker.

That acrid top layer - the jargon, the narrative- fosters a sense of exclusion, impacting social mobility and perpetuates the widening wealth gap. But what many fail to realise - is that no one even likes pickled oysters. They're just for show - the simple, easy going cracker is the main sustenance.( Er, I do hope this is still making sense...)

So why is there still fear or using AI, particularly in lower socioeconomic communities?


Part of the problem is the narrative that surrounds the technology. Many people believe that AI is only for tech experts and that it is too complex for the average person to use. This narrative is perpetuated by the use of jargon and complex terminology, which can be intimidating for those who are not overly familiar with computers, in general. We need to change the narrative and normalise AI to make it more accessible to everyone. This means using language that everyone can understand and providing resources and education that are tailored to different levels of experience.

In the UK, 65% of those in the lowest income quintile lack basic digital skills, according to a 2021 report by the Good Things Foundation. AI is only going to cause a widening of this injustice, and I am determined to try and bridge that gap at least in some small way, with free workshops for digital and AI skills, under the Fierce Futures CIC umbrella (Fierce PR's sister, non-profit organisation)

At the same time, we need to address the root causes of the fear surrounding AI in working-class communities. Many fears are based around job loss - and while that is a concern for many, including the field of work that pays my mortgage. But as much as you might hate the idea of this new tech taking over human roles - it aint going anywhere. There is a huge need for AI skills, even the most basic (which is literally just typing something into a box and asking the computer to do it). Lots of new jobs will be created - are being created - as we speak.

Get ahead of the curve - why not create your own bespoke service. There are endless possiblities,

 The truth is, AI need not be an exclusive dish reserved only for those with a pallet for disgusting but posh foods (such as oysters).

 Thanks to free open-source platforms (that just means 'websites'... ), user-friendly phone apps, and the democratisation of knowledge, AI tools and resources are now accessible to pretty much everyone the UK who has internet access and a smartphone.

Like the trepidation one feels when faced with an unfamiliar dish, the key to appreciating AI lies in overcoming our fears and embracing the experience. By providing resources, education, and opportunities for individuals from all backgrounds to learn about and engage with AI, we can empower everyone to benefit from this extraordinary technology.

As the AI genie continues to reshape our world, it can grant wishes for you too. By dispelling the fear surrounding AI and fostering an inclusive culture that rejects jargon, we can collectively level the playing field in accessing the transformative potential of AI, which has potential to create a more equitable future.

The future is waiting for you and is yours to design; there's a place at the AI table for everyone... and do you know what? Most of it is SO easy and also loads of fun,.

And, according to a recent survey, 82% of people who have used AI tools such as ChatGPT  reported feeling like wizards or superheroes. 

I made that up. 

  Give me a shout with any AI related questions, or to let me know you would like some free training, in our new programme of free AI skills workshops coming later this year.

Speak soon



x AI, digital skills, socioeconomic communities, fear of AI, inclusivity, education, open-source platforms, democratization of knowledge, job loss, future of work, free workshops, transformative potential, jargon, language, wizards, superheroes.

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