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Government plans for fresh AI strategy

The government wants to “unleash the power of AI” and be “the most pro-tech government ever”, according to digital secretary Oliver Dowden

The government plans to create a national artificial intelligence (AI) strategy, due to be published later this year.

The plan for the strategy comes after the AI Council published a roadmap in January 2021, setting out advice on what a government plan for AI should look like.

The 37-page roadmap set out 16 recommendations for the government, across the categories of research and development, skills and diversity, infrastructure and trust, and adoption in the health, climate and defence sectors.

Digital minister Oliver Dowden announced the plan for the strategy as part of his Ten tech priorities, aiming to “power a golden age of tech in the UK”.

The strategy will aim to grow the economy through use of AI technologies, develop ethical, safe and trustworthy AI and ensure resilience to change through focusing on skills, talent and research and development (R&D).

“Unleashing the power of AI is a top priority in our plan to be the most pro-tech government ever,” said Dowden. “The UK is already a world leader in this revolutionary technology and the new AI strategy will help us seize its full potential – from creating new jobs and improving productivity to tackling climate change and delivering better public services.”

The government said it will consider the recommendations made in the roadmap set out by the AI Council, and that the strategy will build upon the “strong foundations” put in place by the £1bn AI sector deal, set out in 2018.

Dowden’s Ten tech priorities also include levelling-up digital prosperity across the UK, fuelling a new era of startups and scale-ups through creating the right environment for companies to access growth capital, and building a tech-savvy nation, among other initiatives.

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Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the country is already harnessing the potential of AI to improve lives, “from faster and more effective disease diagnosis, to controlling the heating in our homes”.

“Through this strategy we will nurture our AI pioneers to accelerate bringing new technologies to market, unlock high-skilled jobs, drive up productivity and cement the UK’s status as a global science superpower,” he said.

 

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