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Government commits to national AI strategy

15/03/21

Mark Say Managing Editor

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The UK government has indicated it plans to develop a national AI strategy.

Android looking at AI symbol

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden announced the plan, saying the strategy will focus on how the technology can promote economic growth, growing skills in the sector, and the development of underlying ethics, safety and public trust.

He 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.”

In developing the strategy, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport plans to consider recommendations from the AI Council.

This follows the council’s publication in January of a roadmap for the use of the technology, saying the public sector should be a priority area for innovation, which could be harnessed to improve services and policy making.

The announcement drew the support of several influential organisations, including IT industry association techUK and BCS – The Chartered Institute for IT.

Extraordinary potential

Sir Adrian Smith, institute director and chief executive of 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.”

Image from iStock, Andrey Suslov

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