The Government has been urged to help the UK become the world leader in the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI): to boost productivity, advance health care, improve services for customers and unlock £630bn for the UK economy.
Experts from industry and academia have unveiled new proposals for how Government can work with industry to stay ahead of the competition and grow the UK’s use of AI across the economy – from smarter scheduling of operations in health care, to hiring on-demand self-driving cars.
The Industrial Strategy Green Paper, published in January, identified AI as a major, high-potential opportunity for the UK to build a word-leading future sector of our economy.
The independent review, Growing the Artificial Intelligence Industry in the UK, was announced as part of the Digital Strategy in March, and led by Dame Wendy Hall, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton, and Jérôme Pesenti, Chief Executive of BenevolentTech. The reviewers were asked to report on how this pioneering technology can best thrive and grow in the UK and will inform BEIS and DCMS policymaking relevant to this exciting new sector.
Business Secretary Greg Clark said:
Artificial intelligence presents us with a unique opportunity to build on our strengths and track record of research excellence by leading the development and deployment of this transformational technology. This important review exemplifies the world-class expertise the UK already has in AI, demonstrating the huge social and economic benefits its use can bring. We will continue to work with the sector in the coming months to secure a comprehensive Sector Deal that make the UK the go to place for AI and helps us grasp the opportunities that lie ahead.
The report makes 18 recommendations for how to make the UK the best place in the world for businesses developing AI to start, grow, and thrive including:
- Skills: increasing the UK’s AI expertise through new initiatives including an industry-funded Masters programme, and conversion courses to bring a broader range of people into the field;
- Increasing uptake: helping organisations and workers understand how AI can boost their productivity and make better products and services, including public services;
- Data: ensuring that people and organisations can be confident that use of data for AI is safe, secure and fair by making more data available, including from publicly-funded research; and
- Research: building on the UK’s strong record in cutting-edge AI research, including making the Alan Turing Institute a national institute for AI.
These recommendations will now be carefully considered in discussions towards a potential Industrial Strategy sector deal between Government and the AI industry.
As part of the Industrial Strategy, the Government has increased investment in research and development over the next 4 years by £4.7 billion to create jobs and raise living standards, including through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.
The Business Secretary announced in April that the first £1 billion of investment is being made in six key areas in 2017/18, driving progress and innovation that will create opportunities for businesses and sectors across the UK. More information can be found on the BEIS web site here.