The UK government is gearing up to invest an initial £100m to establish a taskforce dedicated to accelerating the country’s sovereignty and competitiveness in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). This move comes at a time when the UK is facing a predicted 0.3% drop in GDP, as per the International Monetary Fund’s forecasts. The taskforce aims to develop foundation models – systems that train on large amounts of data – such as ChatGPT and Google Bard to reap their benefits in public services and throughout the UK economy.
The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, acknowledged the potential of AI to grow the economy, create better-paid jobs, and make advances in healthcare and security. In healthcare, AI has the potential to speed up diagnoses and drug discovery and development, thereby contributing to improved patient outcomes.
To ensure safe and reliable use of foundation models, both on a scientific and commercial scale, the taskforce will work with the sector and implement 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 a Chair will be appointed during the summer.
In the next six months, the first pilot projects targeting public services are expected to launch. This funding follows a £900m investment in a new exascale computer and a dedicated AI Research Resource to provide the processing capability needed for the next generation of AI.
With several countries ramping up their AI spending, the UK doesn’t want to miss the opportunity to stay ahead of the game. The Science, Innovation, and Technology Secretary, Michelle Donelan, said, “We need to act now to seize the opportunities AI can offer us in the future. 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.”
This investment is a strategic move that positions the UK to capitalize on the benefits of AI and keep pace with the rapidly evolving technological landscape. By investing in AI, the UK is laying the foundation for a more prosperous future.