UK government trails focus on AI sector

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Boosting the UK’s artificial intelligence (AI) sector and adding hundreds of billions of pounds to the UK economy is set to be at the heart of the Government’s Digital Strategy when it is unveiled this week.

The Government, following on from its recent Industrial Strategy which aims to build on Britain’s business strengths and new technologies to create more high-skilled, high-paid jobs, will set out a series of new measures this Wednesday to support the nation’s world-leading AI sector and capture more of the growing global market.

According to Accenture, AI could add in the region of £654 billion to the UK economy by 2035. It is already used in smartphone voice and touch recognition technology and virtual digital assistants like Siri.

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley MP will outline a major AI review led by Dame Wendy Hall, Regius Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton and Jerome Presenti, CEO of BenevolentTech, the technology division of BenevolentAI, to identify how AI can thrive and grow in the UK.

It will consider how Government and industry could work together to back the technology from early research to commercialisation.

The Government is also expected to confirm a funding boost of £17.3 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to support the development of new Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (RAI) technologies in universities across the UK.

Bradley said: “Britain has a proud history of digital innovation - from the earliest days of computing to Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s development of the World Wide Web. Technologies like AI have the potential to transform how we live, work, travel and learn.”

Business Secretary Greg Clark added: “Investment in robotics and artificial intelligence will help make our economy more competitive, build on our world-leading reputation in these cutting-edge sectors and help us create new products, develop more innovative services and establish better ways of doing business.”