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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

UK Says AI is Getting Very Important

In part pushed by recent advances?

AI News

Editorial: UK puts AI at the centre of its Budget

By Ryan Daws | March 16, 2023 | TechForge Media

Categories: Artificial Intelligence, Development, Enterprise, Industries, Legislation & Government, Machine Learning, Quantum Computing,

Ryan is a senior editor at TechForge Media with over a decade of experience covering the latest technology and interviewing leading industry figures. He can often be sighted at tech conferences with a strong coffee in one hand and a laptop in the other. If it's geeky, he’s probably into it. Find him on Twitter (@Gadget_Ry) or Mastodon (@gadgetry@techhub.social)

British Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced the country’s Spring Budget this week and supporting the AI industry was at the centre.

The UK is Europe’s AI leader. Indeed, behind the US and China, the country’s tech sector overall has the third-highest amount of VC investment in the world – more than Germany and France combined – and has produced more than double the number of $1 billion tech firms than any other European country.

Gerard Grech, CEO of Tech Nation, said:

“As a nation uniquely positioned between two economic powerhouses, the US and the EU, we must harness innovative regulation that will enable us to propel ourselves as an international hub and leader for AI, quantum computing, and deep tech.

This is a critical step towards creating a distinctive, value-driven tech ecosystem in the UK, setting us apart from other tech hubs.”

To support British startups, an ‘AI Sandbox’ was announced by the chancellor. The sandbox features a number of initiatives designed to encourage AI research and investment.

Among them is a prize pot containing millions of pounds. £1 million will be up for grabs every year over the next decade for the best AI innovations created by teams and individuals.

Ludovico Lugnani, Technology Solicitor at BDB Pitmans, comments:

“Following yesterday’s news of Open AI’s launch of its upgraded GPT-4 chatbot, the Budget’s announcement as to the creation of an AI sandbox offers a promising outlook for the UK to speed up the arrival of AI products to market.

As part of this, particular emphasis should be placed on providing effective guidance as to the implications of copyright law on generative AI applications following the recent claim by Getty Images against Stability AI over breach of copyright.”

Elsewhere, £2.5 billion is being ploughed into advancing quantum computing. The powerful machines will enable a literal “quantum leap” in AI.

“The power that AI’s complex algorithms need can be provided by quantum computing,” the chancellor told the Commons.

£900 million is also being invested to create an exascale supercomputer that will be several times more powerful than the country’s biggest computers and advance not just AI research, but also science, healthcare, defense, weather modelling, and more.

“[The supercomputer] should be a huge boost to the UK’s ability to support cutting-edge research in areas requiring complex modelling and simulations, such as climate change, pharmaceutical development and hi-tech engineering,” commented Nick White, Partner at law firm Charles Russell Speechlys.

Only one exacomputer is currently known to exist. The computer, known as Frontier, is housed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, United States.

Other relevant announcements in the Spring Budget are targeted less at the AI industry specifically but aim to solidify the UK’s ranking as the second-best country after the US to invest and launch a business.

Under the ‘Full Expensing’ plans, companies investing in R&D and IT equipment to boost growth will benefit. Every pound a company spends on new IT equipment and machinery can be deducted in full from taxable profits.  .... '

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