(Bloomberg) -- The US is leading the UK on AI investments, raising concerns about a widening productivity gap, according to Bank of England policymaker Jonathan Haskel.

AI output can be quantified as a mix of fast computers, software and large databases, Haskel said, speaking to the Society of Professional Economists in a video published Thursday. While databases are not part of GDP calculations, software and hardware investment data suggest the US is embracing AI at a much faster rate than the UK.

“US hardware has been zooming ahead of UK hardware really for quite a few years,” Haskel said in an interview. “Interestingly on the software side, those investments between the US and UK were quite similar, but once we got to the pandemic UK software investment rather flattened and US software investment has absolutely shot up.”

The UK is facing one of the worst productivity slowdowns in the developed world. Political leaders and economists are searching for a fix that could drive growth, lift wages and improve living standards.

US software investment as a share of GDP doubled to 4% between 2015 and 2023, while stagnating around 2% in the UK over the same period, Haskel wrote in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. The gap in hardware investment is also widening rapidly.

Besides helping workers do their job more efficiently, AI could also unlock new projects that would otherwise be too costly or lengthy. For example, it could recommend to pharmaceutical companies which combinations of drugs are most likely to yield the best results, Haskel said, calling this “innovation in the process of innovation.”

“If that happens we’ve got a real productivity boom on our hands and that might take us back to 2%,” he added.

The International Monetary Fund recently singled out the UK as one of the big winners from AI. The IMF predicted AI could increase productivity by 0.9% to 1.5% a year, a much stronger gain than the global estimate, as well as deliver a 16% boost to GDP. 

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