The United Kingdom has revealed ambitious plans to invest over 100 million pounds ($125m) in research and training initiatives aimed at advancing artificial intelligence (AI) while ensuring responsible use and regulation of the technology.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Secretary of State for Science, Innovation, and Technology Michelle Donelan outlined the government’s strategy, which includes the establishment of nine new AI research hubs across the UK. These hubs will serve as focal points for cutting-edge research and development in AI, with a focus on various sectors including education, policing, and the creative industries.
The funding will also support research projects examining the ethical and responsible implementation of AI in these sectors. This move underscores the UK government’s commitment to harnessing the potential of AI while mitigating its risks, particularly in areas crucial to public services and economic growth.
Donelan emphasized the transformative power of AI, highlighting its potential to revolutionize public services, stimulate economic growth, and contribute to medical breakthroughs such as treatments for diseases like cancer and dementia. She stressed the importance of agile regulation tailored to specific sectors to address the evolving risks associated with AI swiftly.
The announcement follows the UK’s recent initiatives in AI regulation, including the launch of the world’s first institute dedicated to AI safety and the hosting of a global summit on the topic. In November, more than 25 countries, including the UK, signed the Bletchley Declaration, acknowledging the risks of AI and the need for coordinated efforts to mitigate them.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been vocal about positioning the UK as a leader in AI regulation, asserting that governments are best suited to assess and address the risks associated with the technology. Sunak emphasized the role of governments in ensuring the safety and well-being of their citizens in the face of rapid technological advancement.
The government’s announcement has garnered positive reactions from industry leaders in AI, including executives from Microsoft, Google, and Amazon. These companies have welcomed the UK’s proactive approach to AI regulation, recognizing the importance of collaboration between government and industry to ensure the responsible development and deployment of AI technologies.
As the UK takes decisive steps towards becoming a global leader in AI regulation, the investment in research and training reflects a commitment to harnessing the benefits of AI while safeguarding against potential risks.