September 27, 2021
The Government says that it has launched the Strategy to help strengthen the UK’s position as a “global science superpower”.
Alongside measures to develop the next generation of AI talent through continued support for postgraduate learning, retraining and making sure children from wide backgrounds can access specialist courses, the Government says that the Strategy will “position the UK as a global leader in raising the standards around the use of the technology while building the case for deeper investor confidence”. It includes plans to:
- launch a National AI Research and Innovation Programme to improve coordination and collaboration between the country’s researchers and help transform the UK’s AI capabilities, while boosting business and public sector adoption of AI technologies and their ability to take them to market;
- support the Government’s “levelling up” agenda by launching a joint Office for AI (OAI) and UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) programme aimed at continuing to develop AI in sectors based outside of London and the South East; this would focus on the commercialisation of ideas and could see, for example, the Government focusing investment, researchers and developers to work in areas which currently do not use much AI technology but which have great potential, such as energy and farming;
- publish a joint review with UKRI into the availability and capacity of computing power for UK researchers and organisations, including the physical hardware needed to drive a major roll out in AI technologies; the review will also consider wider needs for the commercialisation and deployment of AI, including its environmental impacts;
- launch a consultation on copyright and patents for AI through the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) to make sure the UK is capitalising on the ideas it generates and by best supporting AI development and use through the copyright and patent system; this consultation will also include a focus on how to protect AI generated inventions which would otherwise not meet inventorship criteria as well as measures to make it easier to use copyright protected material in AI development; and
- trialling an AI Standards Hub to coordinate UK engagement in setting the rules globally and working with the Alan Turing Institute to update guidance on AI ethics and safety in the public sector and create practical tools to make sure the technology is used ethically.
The Strategy has a ten-year vision to transform the UK’s capabilities in AI in parallel with the rapid technological expansion around the world. It focuses on three pillars:
- making sure the country invests in the long-term growth of AI;
- ensuring that the Strategy benefits all sectors and regions of the economy; and
- ensuring that it is governed effectively by adequate rules that encourage innovation, investment and protect the public and the country’s fundamental values.