Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


British government unveils £1 billion AI deal

Following the launch of the government’s Industrial Strategy, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has announced a new AI deal worth £1 billion.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has announced that 50 technology companies and organisations have contributed to the development of an £1 billion AI deal, as reported in diginomica.

The announcement follows the launch of the government’s Industrial Strategy, within which AI was highlighted as one of the UK’s four ‘grand challenges’. MPs also recently released a report analysing the government’s AI strategy, stating that it needed to rethink funding, procurement and infrastructure.

Other endeavours taken by the government include the establishment of the Government Office for AI, the AI Council and the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation.

The deal between government and industry, announced by Business Secretary Greg Clark and Digital Secretary Matt Hancock today, also includes more than £300 million of newly allocated government funding for AI research.

New investments announced as part of the deal, include:

  • Japanese venture capital firm Global Brain opening its first European HQ in the UK and investing £35 million in UK deep-tech start-ups
  • The University of Cambridge opening a new £10 million AI supercomputer and making its infrastructure available to businesses
  • Top-ranking Vancouver-based venture capital firm Chrysalix, is also going to establish a European HQ in the UK and use it to invest up to £110 million in AI and robotics
  • The Alan Turing Institute and Rolls-Royce will jointly-run research projects exploring: how data science can be applied at scale, the application of AI across supply chains, data-centric engineering and predictive maintenance, and the role of data analytics and AI in science.

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Matt Hancock said: “The UK must be at the forefront of emerging technologies, pushing boundaries and harnessing innovation to change people’s lives for the better.

“Artificial Intelligence is at the centre of our plans to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business. We have a great track record and are home to some of the world’s biggest names in AI like Deepmind, Swiftkey and Babylon, but there is so much more we can do.

“By boosting AI skills and data driven technologies we will make sure that we continue to build a Britain that is shaping the future.”

Boris Krumrey, chief robotics officer at automation expert UiPath, commented: “AI has the potential to benefit everything that we do. We are already seeing how, by combining RPA and AI, complex capabilities are beginning to emerge. While automation is able to streamline repetitive, rules-based business processes, the software is largely unable to deal with exceptions on its own or make decisions outside of how it has been programmed. AI can be used, even in addition to automation software, to approach tasks that require more complex decision-making and analysis, such as natural language processing, recommendation services, and online customer support.

“However, it is vital that there is further investment in research and education around AI and robotics, and the benefits this tech will bring such as increased employment opportunities. These jobs may look different than before and require other skillsets and knowledge. For example, individuals would be tasked with developing new automation technologies and managing the implementation of these technologies within our business environment. Furthermore, individuals will remain responsible for emotive occupations, such as therapists and teachers – professions that still have low automation potential.”