Home » Chancellor to announce £100 million investment in Britain’s AI industry

Chancellor to announce £100 million investment in Britain’s AI industry

by Simon Jones Tech Reporter
5th Mar 24 11:02 am

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is preparing to provide a budget boost to Britain’s growing artificial intelligence sector through a doubling of funding, for the Alan Turing Institute, the UK’s national body for data science and artificial intelligence.

Despite being restricted in his scope for pre-election giveaways by the weakness of the public finances, the chancellor is expected to announce a five-year package of funding worth £100m.

The Treasury said the money would allow the Turing Institute – set up in 2015 and named after the pioneering computer scientist and mathematician who died in 1954 – to make fresh advances in data science and AI.

The extra funding will be allocated to research in three areas where AI is seen as having an important role to play: transforming healthcare, protecting the environment, and strengthening defence and national security. Treasury sources said the money would have a direct impact on the public through better healthcare and tackling biodiversity challenges.

Since becoming chancellor in October 2022, Hunt has repeatedly stated his desire to turn Britain into a science superpower and for the country to become the next Silicon Valley. He has announced plans to harness the power of Britain’s pension funds to emulate America’s success in turning inventions into commercial propositions.

Hunt believes AI offers a way of improving Britain’s poor productivity record. Recent research has suggested the adoption of generative AI could add up to $4.4tn (£3.5tn) to the global economy each year.

Sources said the chancellor wanted to use the technological revolution to unlock economic growth and enable researchers to make new discoveries in a range of areas including medicine, aerospace and climate change – and benefit every corner of the UK. Building on past projects and using the UK’s unique health data sources, Hunt thinks the new funding will allow the Turing Institute to make an important contribution to the UK’s health and wellbeing.

A Treasury source said: “With the UK home to a third of Europe’s AI companies, investing in this pivotal technology is a vital opportunity to grow the economy and deliver a brighter future for Britain.

“By backing the Turing Institute, we’re taking a further step in our plan to ensure that we are at the forefront of shaping how technology transforms our lives for the better.”

Scott Lewis, SVP, Ataccama, said: “Boosting AI investment should be a top priority for the government. Technology advancement is fuelling data creation in all areas of everyday life, in business and academia, and that data can provide valuable insights to help solve challenges and drive innovation.

“AI tools accelerate data analysis and cleansing, transforming it into good quality, governed data which is critical for trustworthy AI outcomes.

“Generative AI can then facilitate queries, insight mining and content creation from that data to address issues, apply learnings or help organisations reach their objectives. The UK has a strong history of innovation and this investment is an important milestone in maintaining our lead in emerging technology.”

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