The UK Government has revealed its new AI strategy, aiming to make the country a ‘superpower’ in the technology over the next decade.
AI offers opportunities for the UK to improve the lives of its citizens, as well as solving challenges relating to climate change and public health, the government noted.
Among the steps laid out in the strategy are plans for a National AI Research and Innovation Programme to support AI research and development.
This will help the country’s researchers coordinate and collaborate on developing the UK’s AI capabilities, as well as promoting the adoption of AI by businesses and public sector organisations.
The strategy also calls for a white paper on the governance and regulation of AI to build confidence in its use, plus moves to support organisations in every region and sector to help capitalise on the power of AI technologies.
This would see the launch of a joint Office for AI (OAI) and UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) programme, aimed at continuing to develop AI in sectors based outside of London and the South East.
A joint review should be published with UKRI into the availability and capacity of computing power for UK researchers and organisations, including the physical hardware needed to drive a major roll out in AI technologies.
The review will also consider wider needs for the commercialisation and deployment of AI, including its environmental impact.
The UK will also need to review copyright and patents for AI through the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), to ensure the UK is capitalising on the ideas it generates and that AI-generated inventions are protected.
Another important step is to develop the UK’s AI talent through continued support for postgraduate learning, retraining and making sure children from a diverse range of backgrounds can access specialist courses.
In addition, the strategy envisions the UK becoming a global leader in the governance of AI technologies. This will involve trialling an AI Standards Hub to coordinate UK engagement in establishing global rules and standards, as well as working with The Alan Turing Institute to update guidance on AI ethics and safety in the public sector.
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According to DCMS Minister Chris Philp: “Artificial intelligence technologies generate billions for the economy and improve our lives. They power the technology we use on a daily basis and help save lives through better disease diagnosis and drug discovery.
“The UK already punches above its weight internationally and we are ranked third in the world behind the USA and China in the list of top countries for AI.
“Today we’re laying the foundations for the next ten years’ growth with a strategy to help us seize the potential of artificial intelligence and play a leading role in shaping the way the world governs it.”
Longer term plans include reviewing the country’s semi-conductor supply chains, promoting diversity in AI, working with global partners on AI research.
The UK already has a solid foundation in the technology. The country received the third most private venture capital investment into AI companies in the world, around £2.5 billion in 2019. It is also home to a third of Europe’s total AI companies.
In addition, the UK is looking to launch a Defence AI Strategy later this year.