Digital ID and AI are drivers of UK’s economic future, says Tony Blair

The Economic Case for Reimagining the State is the latest technology-focused paper from the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, published through its Future of Britain initiative. The report is an equal mix of sugar-coated bitter truths and outright bemoaning of the current state of the UK – “this is not 1997,” it says up-front, referencing the year Blair took office as prime minister. But it does propose a solution.

The answer involves AI and digital ID, among other emergent technologies. The economic environment in the UK is “woeful,” it says, and so “the new government therefore needs to tap into the only structural tailwind that is pushing in a positive direction: technological progress.”

The report’s definition of positive is deeply rooted in traditional economic measures. “We are at the dawn of a new artificial-intelligence era of technology that is already producing large financial and productivity gains among businesses at the frontier of adoption,” says the report. “If these gains scale up to the wider economy, they could boost UK growth by up to 1.5 percentage points per year for a decade, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).”

“Under a plausible albeit rapid AI-uptake scenario, AI-enabled growth could generate sufficient tax revenues (up to £40 billion per year within a decade and £100 billion by 2040) to offset all the extra fiscal pressure facing the UK up to 2040.”

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