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Insights: UK launches major AI push

Insights: UK launches major AI push

Originally posted by Contributor @ technologydecisions.com.au

The Sector Deal for Artificial Intelligence is a major collaboration with industry, designed to secure the UK’s global leadership in artificial intelligence and data.

If adoption of AI is widespread, it could lead to a productivity boost of up to 30% in the UK.

The Sector Deal outlines how the government is building on the independent review led by Professor Dame Wendy Hall and Jérôme Pesenti, reflecting that review’s spirit of partnership and consultation between government, industry and academia.

“In skills, we have made it the UK’s ambition to be home to the world’s best and brightest minds in artificial intelligence,” said Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries.

“We will support the Alan Turing Institute’s plans for expansion, to become the national academic institute for AI and data science.

“We will create 200 additional PhDs in AI and related disciplines per annum by 2020–21, rising to at least 1000 government-backed PhD places at any one time by 2025.

“We have set a target of 200 places for an industry-funded AI Masters program, and we will introduce an internationally competitive Turing Fellowship Program in AI.

“We are also doubling Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visas to 2000 a year, to attract the brightest minds to the UK.”

The UK is investing over £1billion in telecoms to become a country with world-class digital capabilities — from 5G mobile networks to full-fibre broadband.

As part of the Sector Deal, the University of Cambridge will make the UK’s fastest academic supercomputer — capable of solving the largest scientific and industrial challenges at breakneck speed — available to AI technology companies.

This complements government’s support for start-ups’ access to hardware via the Digital Catapult’s Machine Intelligence Garage and builds on Cambridge’s existing track record as a hub for AI and technology.

“For AI systems, data is the experience they learn from to be able to process information and interact usefully with the world and the people and citizens who live it,” said James.

“This government has always valued the economic benefits of pioneers having access to high-quality public datasets.

“But some of the most useful datasets for AI are those that organisations are reluctant to share with others — perhaps, because they have commercial value.”

The world’s first Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation will therefore work to unlock the usefulness of that data, while protecting its value for those organisations and, most importantly, keeping people’s data secure.

The Sector Deal makes a commitment to establish clusters and regional tech hubs, designed to power AI growth, across the entire country.

“We will invest £21m in Tech City UK over four years so it can expand into Tech Nation — thus transforming the UK from a series of standalone tech hubs into a powerful network that can place the nation firmly at the top of global tech rankings,” said James.

The new Tech Nation’s AI program will operate in two or three key clusters where there is AI expertise, and a potential to provide the mentoring and growth support that’s needed for ambitious AI businesses to thrive.

“Our ambition in AI will not stop at this Sector Deal. This is only the start of UK plans to seize the opportunities of modern technology in and ensure that it follows the highest ethical standards in doing so,” said James.

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