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£100m boost for UK's AI industry from Chancellor Hunt
Fri, 8th Mar 2024

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is set to announce a £100m cash injection into Britain's burgeoning artificial intelligence (AI) industry. The funds, representing a doubling of existing investment, will be directed primarily towards the Alan Turing Institute, the UK's national institution for data science and AI.

This comes despite the current precarious state of public finances, which has limited the scope for pre-election financial incentives. The investment, set to be spread across five years, is aimed at bringing about significant progress in the realms of data science and AI through the Turing Institute.

Established in 2015, the Institute honours the legacy of Alan Turing, the pioneering computer scientist and mathematician whose untimely demise occurred in 1954. The additional funding will focus mainly on three key sectors where AI holds promise: healthcare transformation, environmental protection, and bolstering defence and national security. The Treasury anticipates that the funding will directly contribute to improving public healthcare and battling biodiversity issues.

Since assuming office in October 2022, Hunt has expressed a consistent ambition to transform Britain into a global science powerhouse and a rival to Silicon Valley. He has unveiled proposals around leveraging the power of UK pension funds to replicate America's track record in commercialising inventions.

The Chancellor views AI as a potential remedy to Britain's persistent productivity woes. Recent research indicates that the integration of generative AI could add a staggering £3.5tn to the worldwide economy annually. Hunt aspires to capitalise on the technological revolution to spark economic growth and empower researchers to explore new frontiers in medicine, aerospace, and climate change, benefiting all areas of the UK.

With a vision of using the unique health data resources of the UK and the ongoing projects to make a considerable contribution to the nation's health and wellbeing, Hunt believes the fresh funding will allow the Turing Institute to play a significant role. A source from the Treasury adding, "With the UK housing a third of Europe's AI firms, investing in this pivotal technology offers a crucial opportunity for economic growth and a brighter future for Britain."

Scott Lewis, SVP at Ataccama, has voiced his support for this move, stating, "Boosting AI investment should be a top priority for the government. Technology advancement drives data generation in all aspects of daily life, both in business and academia. This data can yield insightful metrics to address challenges and inspire innovation. AI tools speed up data analysis and cleansing, transmuting it into high-quality, governed data, pivotal for reliable AI results."

Lewis further highlighted the integral role of generative AI in queries, insight mining, and content creation from such data to issue solutions, employ knowledge, or assist organisations in achieving their goals. He ended with asserting that "The UK has a robust history of innovation, and this investment represents a significant step towards maintaining our lead in emerging technology."