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A new report tells the government how it can 'supercharge' AI in the UK


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The UK is well placed to become a world leader in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), according to a government-commissioned report published on Sunday.

The 78-page report contains 18 proposals for how the UK government can work with industry to stay ahead of the competition and grow the UK's use of AI.

Proposals in the "Growing the Artificial Intelligence Industry in the UK" report include:

  • boosting the number of people with AI skills by introducing an industry-funded masters degree programme and other conversion courses.
  • helping businesses to understand how AI can boost their productivity and allow them to make better products and services.
  • ensuring that people and organisations can rest-assured that there data is safe and secure. The report also suggests that data should be made available to more organisations.
  • making the Alan Turing Institute a national institute for AI.

The independent report was produced by Dame Wendy Hall, professor of computer science at the University of Southampton, and Jérôme Pesenti, CEO of BenevolentTech, the technology division of BenevolentAI.

Hall and Pesenti believe that AI has the potential to significantly improve healthcare, power autonomous cars, boost productivity, and unlock £630 billion for the UK economy.

Hall said in a statement:

"I was very honoured to be asked to co-chair this review at a time when AI is set to make major changes to the way we live and work. I’m particularly keen to ensure that we use it to inform the establishment of initiatives and programmes to help us extract the most value from artificial intelligence for the country; that includes an emphasis on increasing and improving our skill levels to prepare the workforce for the number of jobs the industry will need for the future.

"AI has been around for a very long time as a concept and this latest surge of technological development is likely to see automation continue to escalate and accelerate in every walk of life. Now is the time for us all - scientists, researchers, entrepreneurs and the government - to come together and address the issues about how AI is going to impact society and seek ways to ensure that we’re able to deliver the great breakthroughs the technology has the potential to deliver."

Pesenti said:

"In our AI review, we focused on recommendations that are both practicable and deliverable. By following these recommendations, government, academia and industry can help strengthen the UK's position in the global AI market.
Our proposals are deliberately specific and boil down to three fundamentals – enable better access to data, create a greater supply of AI skills and promote the uptake of AI. I am looking forward to working with government, academia and industry to drive these changes."

Culture secretary Karen Bradley said in a statement:

"I want the UK to lead the way in artificial intelligence. It has the potential to improve our everyday lives — from healthcare to robots that perform dangerous tasks. 
"We already have some of the best minds in the world working on artificial intelligence, and the challenge now is to build a strong partnership with industry and academia to cement our position as the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business."

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