Why are the government promoting AI?

The UK Government want the UK to be at the forefront of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the data revolution. And why wouldn’t they? The economy still needs to thrive, and can be done through new and innovative forums.

The opening up of data is the necessary step to promote Artificial Intelligence (AI) adoption across all UK economy sectors.

According to Margot James, minister of state for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport “The full benefits to society and the economy that can come from Artificial Intelligence (AI) can only be realised if it is widely used,”. Additionally in terms of planning, “That means government working together with industry to seize the prize of a reported additional £232bn on GDP by 2030.”

Why are the government focusing on this now?

“Data is a critical part of our national digital infrastructure and fundamental, of course, to AI,” said James. “Without access to good quality data from a range of sources, AI technologies cannot deliver on that promise of better, more efficient and seamless services. Government is really committed to opening up more data in a way that makes it reusable and easily accessible.”

But what is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

AI is an area of computer science for the creation of intelligent machines that work and react like humans. For example, Smart Cars and Smart Cities will run on Artificial Intelligence (AI). According to Serviceteam IT’s ‘Beyond the Cloud’ Research, 19.1% of UK businesses are actively using or planning to deploy AI in the next 12 months.

Where is the global competition coming from?

Key competitors include the US, China, Russia and Canada. These countries have also announced their plans to be world leaders in AI and are looking to remain competitive in the future.

For the UK to keep up with Artificial Intelligence (AI), an industry-funded AI master’s programme has been developed. This would train 200 students a year and additionally supported work towards 200 PhD places in AI and related disciplines by 2020. The goal by 2025 is 1,000 government-supported PhD places will be in Artificial Intelligence (AI) at any one time.

Additionally, “We’ve doubled the number of exceptional talent visas to 2,000 to help attract the brightest and the best to live and work in the UK,” said James.

But what about the safety of data sharing?

In an age of GDPR and increased cyber-security incidents, particularly with personal data, safeguards need to be put in place.

“The Office for AI will work with the Open Data Institute to run a number of pilot data trusts – frameworks to enable safe, fair and ethical data sharing between organisations to resolve common problems and bring societal and economic benefits,” said James.

James added “I see a role for the new Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation in terms of engaging with the public and bringing their concerns to the attention of decision-makers in both the private sector and the public sector so that we are not making policy in a vacuum,” she added.

Will we have a say?

This is all well and good, but what about the voice of UK citizens? Many people will not be aware on the extent of this technology and how it can be used to benefit UK business.

“Leading public debate on this is absolutely crucial. I think there is a great danger that if we get ahead of ourselves in government and in industry and we allow public debates to fall behind, then we will fail to build the trust that is absolutely vital to the success of this endeavour.

“We want to make sure that the public sector can work hand-in-hand with the private sector to deliver more solutions that are truly transformative and revolutionise public service delivery.” James comments.

What can you do?

There is a clear focus by the government for emerging technologies. So, start the conversation! From Serviceteam IT’s own research to blogs to governmental plans, this is big in the tech world. Forging a plan or some idea as to what to introduce within your organisation could turn out to be invaluable in the future. If you come across any problems or to bridge the gap between IT and business, please feel free to contact Serviceteam IT!

Final thoughts

If I hadn’t completed my Market Research Internship with Serviceteam IT this summer, I would be confused by all the focus on AI as an emerging technology. As Internet of Things (IoT) is most likely to impact people in their daily lives, confusion can additionally arise here.

However, if as James mentioned public opinion will be at the forefront and reports about the positives of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the specific benefits to UK business and tech during the rocky Brexit deal, it could go a long way to help the economy.

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