The Mayor of London has stressed that the next UK Prime Minister needs to prioritise investment in artificial intelligence for the UK. According to Khan, preparation needs to occur for AI’s impact at both the national and local level.
London Tech Week 2019 has just passed. When speaking to CogX the Mayor mentioned his concern that the Brexit chaos has caused the government to side-line preparations for artificial intelligence. In his opinion, the UK should be in a better position to implement this technology.
He mentioned that Brexit has taken away from one of the most important debates we should be having with emerging technologies. Additionally, government funding and resources follow suit.
AI Sector Deal
The UK launched an AI Sector Deal in 2018. This was the first multimillion-pound investment programme to show the commitment from government and industry to realise AI’s potential.
This includes a package of up to £0.95 billion of support for the sector, which includes government, industry and academic contributions up to £603 million in newly allocated funding, and up to £342 million from within existing budgets, alongside £250 million for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles.
Perspective on Artificial Intelligence (AI)
“There is no doubt that, as a country, we should be much further ahead than we are now, not only in terms of making sure we can make the most of what AI has to offer, but in terms of educating the public,”.
“It must ultimately fall to government working with tech businesses and leaders to ensure that AI adoption is always steered towards augmenting, not replacing, human thought and endeavour, that citizens will always be at the heart of AI design, and that the public can be reassured that AI will not lead us to some dystopian future, but to a better one for us all.”
How does this link to Serviceteam’s research?
Serviceteam IT’s 2018 research found that companies were interested in AI, but we did not get the high figures of adoption which we were expecting. Therefore, directly reflects Khan’s concerns.
In our qualitative research, there were many barriers to this adoption including funding, knowledge and skills. Therefore, although money may be invested in it, there is not a large public discussion about is use. This, in turn, has led to arguably a lack of widespread adoption of the technology.
Our report was concerned about the impact of emerging tech and the actual scale of adoption in Britain for the global technological race. As discussions about Brexit will not cease for years to come, I wonder the effect this will have on our economy. Adoption and change appears necessary to handle economic change.
Other concerns regarding Artificial Intelligence
As with anything, there are growing ethical and privacy concerns with the use of AI. Khan stressed that although new technology needed to be implemented, this needed to mirror the confidence and trust of citizens with tech.
However, there is a positive to the scare stories. London boasts 750 AI firms, which is twice the amount of Berlin and Paris combined. Yet, a bridge needs to form between the private and public sector to really utilise this technology. This is especially as the London Office for Technology and Innovation has launched.
The Use of AI in London
- Chat bots offering customer services
- City wide sensors to improve the air quality
- Traffic signalling
- Demand-responsive transport
- Prioritisation of council home maintenance
- Use in hospital appointments
- Trialling AI to help diagnose illnesses
- Use to predict where crimes happen
This is great progress, but this cannot be restricted to London. For Britain to be leading in AI, its use needs to expand through regions nationally.