New plan to make the UK a global centre for the development of Artificial Intelligence

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A new plan to make the UK a global centre for the development, commercialisation and adoption of responsible AI will be published this year, the government has announced.

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden revealed the move as he set out his Ten Tech Priorities to power a golden age of tech in the UK this week.

The new AI strategy will focus on:

  • Growth of the economy through widespread use of AI technologies
  • Ethical, safe and trustworthy development of responsible AI
  • Resilience in the face of change through an emphasis on skills, talent and R&D

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

Unleashing the power of AI is a top priority in our plan to be the most pro-tech government ever. The UK is already a world leader in this revolutionary technology and the new AI Strategy will help us seize its full potential – from creating new jobs and improving productivity to tackling climate change and delivering better public services.

The Government will build on the UK’s strong foundations put in place through the AI Sector Deal to develop and deliver an AI Strategy that is both globally ambitious and socially inclusive.

It will consider recommendations from the AI Council, an independent expert committee that advises the government, which published its AI Roadmap in January, alongside input from industry, academia and civil society.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said:

The UK is already harnessing the enormous potential of AI to improve all our lives – from faster and more effective disease diagnosis, to controlling the heating in our homes.

Through this strategy we will nurture our AI pioneers to accelerate bringing new technologies to market, unlock high-skilled jobs, drive up productivity and cement the UK’s status as a global science superpower.

The National AI Strategy will align with the government’s plans to support jobs and economic growth through significant investment in infrastructure, skills and innovation. This comes as the UK sees a boost in R&D investment through the government’s Research and Development Roadmap to reach 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027.

Tabitha Goldstaub, Co-founder of CognitionX, AI Council Chair and AI Business Champion said

The Council are thrilled that the key recommendation of the AI Roadmap has been taken forward. We are committed to working with the Office for AI to ensure that the wider AI Ecosystem is represented in the next phase and together ensure the UK economy and society benefits from Artificial Intelligence.

Dame Wendy Hall, UK AI Skills Champion, Regius Professor of Computer Science, University of Southampton said:

I welcome the National AI Strategy and look forward to working with the Office for AI on the recommendations made in the AI Roadmap to scaleup and commit to an on going 10 year programme of high level AI skill-building whilst also committing to achieving AI and data literacy for everyone.

Sir Adrian Smith, Institute Director and Chief Executive, The Alan Turing Institute said:

Artificial intelligence has extraordinary potential to tackle some of the biggest challenges in science, society and the economy. But creating AI for public good, that brings societal benefit to all, and harnesses the UK’s considerable legacy, expertise and innovation in this space requires collaboration and a shared vision.

It is extremely welcome to see the commitment to a National Strategy for AI announced today, and we at The Alan Turing Institute look forward to bringing our research excellence, thriving network and national leadership role to this effort.

Gerard Grech, CEO of Tech Nation said:

UK AI continues to go from strength-to-strength: in 2020 UK firms that were adopting or creating AI-based technologies received £1.78bn in funding, compared to £525m raised by French companies and £386m raised in Germany.

It’s exciting and encouraging to hear the government announce a National AI Strategy, which will accelerate the UK’s global strength in AI development. We continue to see scaleups across the UK use AI to solve pressing challenges, and this will be an important catalyst to translate into impact.

Dr Bill Mitchell OBE, Director of Policy, BCS – The Chartered Institute for IT said:

Tomorrow’s AI technologies will be capable of transforming how we thrive in our daily lives and work, how we can care for the vulnerable in our society, and how we can build a more sustainable future in a constantly online world.

None of that will happen by chance, so the BCS very much welcomes the government’s announcement that it will shape the future of AI through a new national AI strategy that has at its heart inclusivity, fairness to all and ethical values and one that is delivered by world class AI professionals. At BCS we very much look forward to playing our part in supporting that strategy.

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