Since the nationwide recession of 2008, many regions in Ireland are still toiling to regain a stable economic foothold. Tech analysts say the answer lies in artificial intelligence – or AI – which could give Ireland the boost it needs to restore jobs in the country and prevent the ongoing millennial diaspora.
A study from PwC indicates AI could add as much as €48 billion to the Irish gross domestic product by 2030. Although it’s a sizeable amount, that figure still puts Ireland behind other global economies, such as those in Asia.
Researchers clarify the increase will occur partially because of technology such as automation, which would allow members of the Irish workforce to get tasks done faster. They say AI will lead to product improvements that more closely reflect individual users, which would stimulate the economy too.
One of the ways Irish firms aim to tap into AI for economic gain is to make their systems work with others manufactured in tech hubs like Silicon Valley. A company called Netwatch is a prime example. It offers security packages capable of remote monitoring, and advertises how their technology provides “plug-in” compatibility with existing security measures made in other countries.
Netwatch headquarters are in County Carlow but it has offices in both US and the UK. The international presence undoubtedly aids the company in figuring out the best ways to develop AI for the modern world, while appealing to clients both inside and outside of Ireland.
Rise of the AI-powered smartphone
There is also an increase in the availability of smartphones with AI technology in Ireland. Previously, people who wanted that capability on a mobile device might decide to get new phones while on holidays to other countries. However, on Dec. 7, Huawei released its Mate 10 Pro phone in Ireland.
Vodafone is the lone retailer of the device for now, but despite the limited availability, tech fans are buzzing about the development. The Mate 10 Pro is reportedly the best device in the Huawei product family. Reviewers compare it to iPhone X, but it costs significantly less than Apple’s upscale gadget.
How does AI factor into the Mate 10 Pro? It learns how people use their phones and can make related adjustments in the background that prolong battery life. Also, the device knows when people take pictures of food, and instantly adapts for the best photo quality.
Even though Huawei is not an Irish brand, its prominent presence in the Irish marketplace could still be an economic benefit for the country. As Irish engineers and scientists research how people use the Mate 10 Pro and similar AI devices, they’ll gather necessary data to learn how to implement comparable capabilities into technology developed in Ireland.
A survey of Irish CEOs conducted by KMBG indicates three in 10 Irish businesses have invested in automation technology in the past year. That may not seem like a large percentage yet, but it’s even more promising that almost 60 percent of respondents reported starting investment initiatives for tech such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Professionals caution it’ll take several more years before such technology becomes part of the mainstream, but it’s very advanced. With that in mind, Irish people need not worry robots will take over their jobs in the near future. Instead, they’d be wise to spend time pursuing professional development related to the emerging technologies.
Data collected regarding the employment market last year indicated tech-related skills are especially in demand across all types of careers in Ireland, but they’re in limited supply. This matter is an urgent one, and authorities are exploring ways to effectively deal with the tech skills shortage. If that happens, it’ll be easier to keep technology talent in Ireland, instead of relying on other countries.
The information above represents a brief overview of the compelling reasons why many experts claim AI could help Ireland’s economy permanently improve. It’s too early to tell for sure if the projections will hold true, but the research is undeniably promising.
Guest post by Nathan Sykes, founder of Finding an Outlet. Edited by Arthur Velker.
If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at or on Twitter: @SimonCocking