UK AI industry to receive huge boost
Written by: Philip Mason | Published:

The British government has launched a £1 billion collaboration between the public and private sectors to develop the country’s AI industry. The deal was announced this week by business secretary Greg Clark and digital secretary Matt Hancock.

According to the government, more than 50 leading businesses and organisations have contributed to the development of the initiative, offering around £300 million of new money. It marks the first phase of a major ‘innovation-focused’ UK investment drive around artificial intelligence technology.

Speaking of the government’s strategy in this area, secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport Matt Hancock said: “The UK must be at the forefront of emerging technologies, pushing boundaries and harnessing innovation to change people’s lives for the better.

“Artificial Intelligence is at the centre of our plans to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business. We have a great track record and are home to some of the world’s biggest names in AI like Deepmind, Swiftkey and Babylon, but there is so much more we can do.”

The deal also includes money for the training of 8,000 specialist computer science teachers, alongside 1,000 government-funded AI PhDs by 2025, and a commitment to develop the Turing Fellowship programme. The government has also pledged £21 million to create Tech Nation, a “high-growth tech network for ambitious entrepreneurs” across the UK.

Investors in the project include Japanese venture capital firm Global Brain, which is establishing its first European HQ in the UK, as well as the University of Cambridge which is opening a new £10 million AI supercomputer.

Commenting on the announcement, Boris Krumrey, chief robotics officer at automation company UiPath said: "AI has the potential to benefit everything we do."

“We are already seeing how, by combining RPA and AI, complex capabilities are beginning to emerge. AI can be used - even in addition to automation software - to approach tasks that require more complex decision-making and analysis, such as natural language processing, recommendation services, and online customer support.”

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