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UK government makes AI key part of industrial strategy

Mon 27 Nov 2017

The UK government has announced that artificial intelligence (AI) will be a core part of its new industrial strategy.

The Industrial Strategy, announced by Business Secretary Greg Clark, aims to create a long-term plan for improving the country’s productivity issues and strengthen the economy, partially through the adoption of new technologies such as AI.

The strategy contains four ‘sector deals’, which intend to help the chosen sectors grow and ready businesses in these areas for future developments. One of the sectors chosen by the government is artificial intelligence.

This sector deal will bring about ‘immediate, tangible actions’ to advance the UK’s AI and data-driven economy, with the intention of making the UK the ‘go-to destination for AI innovation and investment.’

AI is expected to become an increasingly important part of the country’s economy, with one estimate claiming that artificial intelligence related technologies will add £232 billion to the UK economy by 2030. Well-known AI companies Deepmind, Babylon and Swiftkey were all founded in the UK.

AI investment CAGR 2010 2016

Prime Minister Theresa May said of the new strategy: “It will help create the conditions where successful businesses can emerge and grow, and support these businesses in seizing the big opportunities of our time, such as artificial intelligence and big data whilst also making sure our young people have the skills to take on the high-paid, high-skilled jobs this creates.”

Business Secretary Greg Clark commented: “The UK is well-placed to benefit from the new industrial revolution and we start from a position of significant strength. We have a thriving research and science base and are home to a wide range of innovative sectors, from advanced manufacturing and life sciences, to fintech and creative industries.”

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The announcement of the Industrial Strategy comes after the recommendations of the Growing the artificial intelligence industry in the UK white paper, authored by Professor Dame Wendy Hall and Jérôme Pesenti, which made a number of recommendations for the advancement of AI in the UK.

These recommendations include the development of data trusts in order to improve trust and ease around sharing data, making more research data machine-readable, and supporting text and data mining as a standard research tool.

The paper’s authors argued that AI is crucial to the future of the UK economy, stating that it will ‘disrupt nearly every sector in every country, creating new opportunities and challenges for people, places and businesses to which we must respond.’


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