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UK government boosts AI Council with new appointments

New recruits come from online-only retailer Ocado, the Independent Commission on Freedom of Information, and the Alan Turing Institute

The government’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) Council has been joined by experts from the private sector, academia and data rights organisations as part of a plan to boost growth of the technology in the UK.

One of the new appointments is Paul Clarke, chief technology officer at Ocado. Clarke’s appointment is said to be valuable given the online-only retailer’s expertise in using AI to “personalise the shopping experience of Ocado orders while predicting demand, detecting fraud and keeping consumers safe”.

Other new recruits are Patricia Hodgson, a member of the Independent Commission on Freedom of Information, and Adrian Smith, chief executive of the Alan Turing Institute.

The AI Council is expected to represent the UK AI sector internationally and has put in place the “right skills and practices to make the most of data-driven technologies”, according to digital secretary Jeremy Wright, who announced the AI Council membership at the Vivatech Summit in Paris on 16 April.

“Britain is already a leading authority in AI,” said Wright. “We are home to some of the world’s finest academic institutions, landing record levels of investment to the sector and attracting the best global tech talent – but we must not be complacent.

“Through our AI Council, we will continue this momentum by leveraging the knowledge of experts from a range of sectors to provide leadership on the best use and adoption of artificial intelligence across the economy.”

Launched last year, the AI Council is led by Tabitha Goldstaub, co-founder of CognitionX. As well as overseeing the industry body, her role is to advise the government on how to work with organisations to boost their use of AI.

Other council members include Wendy Hall, from the University of Southampton, who is skills champion for AI in the UK, and Rachel Dunscombe, chief executive of the NHS Digital Academy.

The new appointments to the AI Council come one year after the announcement of the AI Sector Deal, the multimillion-pound investment programme to position the UK as a leader in AI.

Deliverables under the plan so far include the launch of advisory body the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, new research projects around the application of AI in the legal and accountancy sectors, and other initiatives geared to boost the number of AI-focused education programmes.

Read more about AI in the UK government

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