Boost to UK’s data capability as business backs ‘world-first’ AI talent scheme and data centre chair is named
Major businesses including Ocado, Amazon, Rolls Royce and McKinsey & Quantum Black are backing an industry and government collaboration to develop the next generation of artificial intelligence (AI) experts in the UK. The development is said by its backers to be a world-first.
The plans are part of a package to boost the UK’s data capability being unveiled by the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which also includes:
- Confirmation that Roger Taylor will chair the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation;
- The launch of a consultation on the Centre’s remit and a search for the team to run it;
- New plans to develop a National Data Strategy to unlock the power of data in the UK;
- Measures to increase the UK’s leading role in the ethical use of data in the public sector;
- £350,000 (397621.19) to help Internet of Things (IoT) innovators and the emerging technology sector;
- The South West being selected as one of two areas designated as a Digital Skills Pilot Area, with the establishment of a new Digital Skills Partnership to build a thriving digital economy in the region.
The work follows the Government’s £1 billion (€1.14 billion) artificial intelligence sector deal, announcement of its modern Industrial Strategy, and new figures published this week by Dealroom and Tech Nation showing the UK’s track record of producing successful tech companies. 40% of Europe’s unicorns – $1 billion-plus (€0.85 billion) tech companies – are based here.
Digital Secretary Matt Hancock says, “We’re already recognised as the number one country in the developed world in readiness for AI and we are working flat out to keep hold of that crown.
“With Roger Taylor at the helm of our new Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, plans to train the top-tier tech experts of tomorrow and a commitment to develop a new National Data Strategy, we will continue to be Europe’s digital dynamo and the place to start and grow a digital business.”
CEO of techUK, Julian David adds,“Today’s announcement is more evidence of the Government’s commitment to keep the UK at the forefront of innovation in AI. In building a world-leading framework for digital and data governance, the UK can be a pioneer in the development of responsible AI.
“We are pleased to see the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation start to take shape. Industry stands ready to support Roger Taylor in his new role and the consultation process announced today. The Centre has a crucial role to play in creating the right environment for industry, academia, civil society, regulators and policy makers to consider how best to ensure ethical decision making is at the core of all implementations of AI.
“techUK also welcomes the investment and commitment made by industry and Government in the new industrial masters programme. Building the next generation of UK AI talent is vital to securing the UK’s AI future.”
This announcements come as the British Government also confirms:
- A new Start-Up Visa for entrepreneurs to launch in Spring 2019. This will replace a visa route which was exclusively for graduates, opening it up to all business people.
- A new £2.5 billion (€2.84 billion) Patient Capital Fund to open for business to support UK companies with high growth potential to access long-term investment to grow and go global.
- Two new Tech Hubs launched in Brazil and South Africa. UK companies will be paired with overseas innovation through these hubs, to develop skills, capability and business networks in these markets, and facilitate partnerships.
- The opening up of the Ordnance Survey’s valuable geospatial data to small businesses for free to boost competition in the digital economy.