Sep 23, 2021

UK publish a new 10-year plan to become ‘AI superpower’

AI
UK
government
Strategy
3 min
The UK government has announced a national AI strategy, its first dedicated package aimed at boosting the country's tech capabilities

The UK government has launched its first National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy to help it strengthen its position as ‘a global science superpower’.

Published during London Tech Week, the AI strategy includes plans to launch a new national programme and approach to support research and development, publish 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 capitalise on the power of AI technologies.

DCMS Minister Chris Philp said: “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. 

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.”

 

What else does the plan include? 

  • Launch a National AI Research and Innovation Programme to improve coordination and collaboration between the country’s researchers and help transform the UK’s AI capabilities, while boosting business and public sector adoption of AI technologies and their ability to take them to market.
  • Support the government’s levelling up agenda by launching 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. 
  • Publish a joint review with UKRI into the availability and capacity of computing power for UK researchers and organisations, including the physical hardware needed to drive a major rollout in AI technologies. 
  • Launch a consultation on copyright and patents for AI through the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) to make sure the UK is capitalising on the ideas it generates and by best supporting AI development and use through the copyright and patent system. 
  • Trialing an AI Standards Hub to coordinate UK engagement in setting the rules globally, and working with The Alan Turing Institute to update guidance on AI ethics and safety in the public sector and create practical tools to make sure the technology is used ethically.

 

Driving innovation and economic growth

The strategy focuses on three pillars which include making sure the country invests in the long term growth of AI; that it benefits all sectors and regions of the economy; and that it is governed effectively by adequate rules which encourage innovation, investment and protect the public and the country’s fundamental values.

This includes measures to support skills, including the country’s Turing Fellowships Programme, Centres for Doctoral Training and postgraduate industrial masters and conversion courses, alongside plans to support the National Centre for Computing Education to ensure programmes for children in AI are accessible and reach the widest demographic.

The government will also launch a Defence AI Strategy later this year, the new Defence AI Centre through the Ministry of Defence and begin engagement on the draft National Strategy for AI-driven technologies in Health and Social Care through the NHS AI Lab.

Benevolent AI CEO and Co-Chair of Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) Joanna Shields said: “There has never been a more important time to invest in AI and I’m delighted that the UK Government is recognising its profound potential with the launch of the National Strategy on AI.”

 

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