During the Chancellor’s autumn statement on Wednesday afternoon Jeremy Hunt pledged to invest £500,000 over the next two years in AI to make the UK a world tech leader.
The government said to become the world’s leader in the AI ecosystem to develop AI Chatbots and powerful problem solving and analytical tools.
The additional funding comes on top of the £1.5 billion funding pledged in compute which will enable researchers and start-ups to develop new AI capabilities.
The Chancellor told MPs in the House of Commons, “When it comes to tech, we know that AI will be at the heart of any future growth. I want to make sure our universities, scientists and start-ups can access the compute power they need.
“So building on the success of the supercomputing centres in Edinburgh and Bristol, I will invest a further £500 million over the next two years to fund further innovation centres to help make us an AI powerhouse.”
Industry expert Jonathan Boakes, managing director at tech firm Infinum, said, “The UK Government’s allocation of £500 million for AI powerhouses and a 25% tax deduction on IT expenditure shows strong support for tech innovation. But there’s huge concern that this investment might not be used wisely.
“Research shows 78% of UK businesses plan to invest in AI in the next year, but 73% feel unprepared for its integration.
“Success in the AI revolution demands more than just plugging gaps with cash. It requires strategic planning, workforce training, and expert collaboration to maximise the impact and prevent implementing AI for AI’s sake.
“The rush to embrace AI carries the risk of hasty decisions fuelled by FOMO (fear of missing out), jeopardising sound judgment.
“While the financial boost is appreciated, it must come with clear guidelines and support from the Government to empower businesses in utilising it effectively.”
CEO and Founder of ID Crypt Global, Lauren Wilson-Smith, added, “£500m invested into innovation centres to make the UK an AI powerhouse may be considered by some as money spent to hasten the demise of mankind.
“ So let us hope that this funding is as much to police Artificial Intelligence progress as it is to promote it.
“While AI presents a wealth of positive opportunity, it remains in its infancy. So it’s important that any investment involves regulatory measures to ensure that the growing prominence of AI doesn’t jeopardise our online identities and our safety, which have become increasingly prominent in our everyday lives.”