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Devon firm forges ahead with AI plans saying there's nothing to fear from the 'rise of the robots'

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A Devon business that lists the White House and the US Government among its clients is developing Artificial Intelligence to power its future growth.
Stuart Brocklehurst, chief executive of Applegate Marketplace, based in Barnstaple and Plymouth, said developing AI is ‘do or die’ and opens a wealth of opportunities in the near future, despite recent study by global accounting firm PwC that predicts 30% of jobs in the UK could be replaced by Artificial Intelligence and robots over the next fifteen years.
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Leading Chinese technologist Kai-Fu Lee has also claimed that they will take 50% of jobs over the next decade.

Stuart Brocklehurst, CEO Applegate Marketplace (Image: Mike Southon)
Mr Brocklehurst said: “Some existing roles may be replaced by AI, but equally it will create new roles, in data preparation and testing, in systems design, and also by enabling businesses to expand. AI is coming: the choice is to be one of those doing it, or one of those to whom it is done.”
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Applegate is used by some of the world’s largest businesses and government bodies to get quotes from suppliers for things they need to purchase. Recently it won a prestigious grant from Innovate UK to develop Artificial Intelligence systems which will enable it to process far higher volumes of transactions. Applegate is working with the University of Exeter’s Machine Learning team, headed by Professor Richard Everson, on the development.

Six students from Petroc College will work on the project through an ‘AI Academy’ at Applegate Marketplace. Continuing a partnership between Applegate and Petroc founded two years ago, this will provide practical experience of a technology set to revolutionise the world
The project is also giving a group of students from Petroc College the opportunity to gain experience on this groundbreaking new technology.
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In addition, six students from Petroc College will work on the project through an ‘AI Academy’. Continuing a partnership between Applegate and Petroc founded two years ago, this will provide practical experience of a technology set to revolutionise the world. Petroc Principal Diane Dimond, said: “This is a great opportunity for our students, and demonstrates what can be achieved by colleges and employers working in partnership. Familiarity with a key new technology is a great skill to acquire, and one that few institutions can offer.” Following the Academy the students will also have the opportunity to apply for Applegate’s Workplace Degree Programme, on which they are paid for time studying as well as working, and have their university fees paid for them.
Source: Devon live