The Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has championed British excellence in tech and called for further investment into the UK tech industry at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos.
Hunt outlined his optimism for the UK’s economic growth and productivity, despite the global uncertainties, saying that the tech industry will “drive growth across the UK economy in years to come” and supports the UK’s ambition to be a science and technology superpower.
Hunt was on the ‘Technology in a Turbulent World’ panel with technology leaders from around the world, discussing key developments such as AI, investment, and the future of UK tech. When talking about AI technologies, he expressed his concern commenting “We have choices now and the choice we need to make is how to harness it so it is a force for good”.
The Chancellor of Exchequer said there should be a ‘light touch’ with the government’s regulation of AI but that there was also a need for some “guard-rails” around It as he called for talks with China to ensure the technology is not used for an arms race between superpowers.
This follows from the UK government launching a consultation about implementing a ‘pro-innovation’ approach to AI regulation.
Sachin Agrawal, UK Managing Director at Zoho UK, said: “Investment in UK technology is vital to support innovative businesses who are the backbone of the economy. The UK has an ambitious plan to be a technology superpower and it’s reassuring to see the Chancellor backing that conviction on the world stage at the World Economic Forum annual meeting.
“Emphasis on tech investment is a welcome sight for enterprise businesses, and funding would potentially enable these companies to continue research and development projects for emerging technologies to develop solutions that could help to place the UK as a global hub for technology advancements.”
“AI in particular has been a core focus for businesses over the past year, with 67 per cent of UK respondents to a Zoho Digital Health study claiming they are either using AI already or planning to invest heavily in it. However, it is also important for businesses to focus innovation on other core tech areas including software development, data privacy and cloud.”
“Economic turbulence makes it even more critical for businesses to invest in technology and continue to innovate to fuel growth. This will drive flexibility and agility in businesses to increase their resilience to cope with external pressures beyond their control. Channelling further investment into UK technology will only serve to increase business opportunity and continue to contribute to the UK’s economic growth.”
Khalid Talukder, Co-Founder of DKK Partners, said, “The UK is in a prime position to lead global innovation efforts and it’s good to see the Chancellor banging the investment drum to cement the UK as an attractive destination for technology investment.
“The tech and FinTech sectors are driving forces for economic growth, fuelled by overseas investment and international trade from forward-thinking businesses. Further investment in areas such as payments can support these businesses to continue technology innovation as they connect the UK to emerging markets and open up new avenues for the UK to do business.”