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Government plans to get behind developing AI

27/02/17

DCMS indicates that national strategy will include big investment in artificial intelligence

Support for the research and development of artificial intelligence (AI) is likely to play a significant part in a new national Digital Strategy to be announced later this week.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) indicated over the weekend that the strategy will include a major review into the potential for AI, and to identify its critical elements, to be led by Wendy Hall, professor of computer science at Southampton University, and Jermoe Pesenti, chief executive officer of AI company BenevolentTech.

It will look at how government and industry could work together on developing AI.

The strategy will also confirm funds of £17.3 million through the Engineering and Sciences Research Council to support develop the development of AI and robotics in UK universities.

DCMS said this reflects the strategy’s ambition for Britain to build on areas of strength and develop a global lead in technologies, including cyber security, connected and smart devices, autonomous vehicles as well as AI.

Karen Bradley“Culture Secretary Karen Bradley (pictured) said: “We are already pioneers in today’s artificial intelligence revolution and the Digital Strategy will build on our strengths to make sure UK based scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs continue to be at the forefront.

“Technologies like AI have the potential to transform how we live, work, travel and learn, and I am pleased that Professor Dame Wendy Hall and Jérôme Pesenti will be leading this review. It’s great that government and industry will be working together to drive growth in the sector, to realise all the economic and social benefits for the UK.

“Backing our thriving digital economy to expand and grow by putting the best foundations in place to develop new technology is a vital part of this Government’s plan to build a modern, dynamic and global trading nation.”

DCMS highlighted a recent estimate by major consultancy Accenture that AI could add around £654 billion to the UK economy by 2035.

Its potential was recently highlighted by the then-chief scientific advisor to the Government, Sir Mark Walport, although he, and the government chief technology adviser Liam Maxwell, have said there is a need for careful thought and public education around its future use in services.

Image from GOV.Uk, Open Government Licence v3.0

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