UK splashes £100M on designated AI taskforce

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UK splashes £100M on designated AI taskforce

Ioanna Lykiardopoulou

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Ioanna Lykiardopoulou

Ioanna is a writer at TNW. She covers the full spectrum of the European tech ecosystem, with a particular interest in startups, sustainabili Ioanna is a writer at TNW. She covers the full spectrum of the European tech ecosystem, with a particular interest in startups, sustainability, green tech, AI, and EU policy. With a background in the humanities, she has a soft spot for social impact-enabling technologies.

The UK will splash an initial £100m in funding to establish a government-industry AI taskforce, dedicated to boosting the country’s sovereignty and competitiveness in the field.

The taskforce will develop foundation models — systems that train on large amounts of data such as ChatGPT and Google Bard — with the aim to benefit from their applications in public services and across the UK economy.

According to the government, the technology is estimated to contribute billions of pounds to the country’s GDP, which based on the predictions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is expected to drop by 0.3% this year.

“Harnessing the potential of AI provides enormous opportunities to grow our economy, create better-paid jobs, and build a better future through advances in healthcare and security,” said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. In healthcare, for instance, the government sees AI’s potential to accelerate diagnoses and drug discovery and development.

To increase business and public trust in artificial intelligence, the taskforce will work together with the sector to ensure the “safe and reliable use” of foundation models, both on a scientific and commercial scale. This will be implemented in accordance with the guidelines set out in the AI Regulation Paper published in March.

The taskforce will report directly to the Prime Minister and the Technology Secretary, and will be led by a Chair who will be appointed during summer. Meanwhile, the first pilot projects targeting public services are expected to launch within the next six months.

The £100m fund follows a £900m announced investment in a new exascale computer and a dedicated AI Research Resource to provide the UK with the processing capability required for the next generation of AI.

With several countries across the globe increasing their AI spending, the UK doesn’t want to miss its chance to stay ahead of the game. “We need to act now to seize the opportunities AI can offer us in the future,” said Science, Innovation, and Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan.

“We’re backing our expert taskforce with the funding to make our ambitions for an AI-enabled country a reality and keep the UK at the front of the pack in this emerging technology.”

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