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UK government invests £100m to refine AI regulation
Wed, 7th Feb 2024

The UK government has allocated £100m towards enhancing ‘more agile’ Artificial Intelligence (AI) regulation, thereby bolstering the country's tech landscape. This development follows the £10m funding to enable regulators to understand, manage, and leverage the potential of AI technology better across various sectors including telecoms, healthcare, finance, and education.

The Secretary of State for Science, Innovation, and Technology, Michelle Donelan, sees AI as a game-changer for public services and the economy. She said, "The UK’s innovative approach to AI regulation has made us a worldwide leader in AI safety and development." Donelan also spoke of her personal commitment to the cause, stating, "AI’s potential to transform our society is tremendous – it could lead to breakthrough treatments for severe diseases like cancer and dementia, besides unlocking advanced skills and technology to fuel the British economy in the future."

The regulation will encompass a comprehensive package worth £90m for the establishment of nine new research hubs across the UK, and a partnership with the US with a focus on responsible AI. These hubs will enable UK to enhance its AI expertise across diverse fields such as healthcare, chemistry, and mathematics. Besides, £19m will be funnelled into 21 projects for the development of trusted and responsible AI and machine learning solutions. This will further hasten the deployment of these technologies and fuel productivity.

Additionally, a steering committee to back and steer a robust regulatory coordination structure within the government is on the anvil. These strategies, coupled with the £100m investment in the AI Safety Institute to evaluate the risks of new AI models, reinforce UK's commitment to global leadership in AI safety.

Roman Kucera, CTO at Ataccama, sees the move as a positive step that cuts through the AI buzz and concentrates on pragmatic ways to support and advocate the development and adoption of AI for UK businesses. Kucera stated, "There is a significant opportunity to responsibly harness the insights from data pools to address some of the giant unsolved medical, scientific, and other questions of our generation." He also emphasised the role of quality data in effective AI implementation and called for sustained collaboration in establishing best practices and risk management techniques amid AI deployment.

Meanwhile, Tom Dunning, CEO of Ad Signal, called for an environmental perspective to the AI deployment. He highlighted the energy-intensive nature of AI systems and the vast data they produce that necessitates storage and processing. Dunning called on the government to join forces with the tech industry to design more energy-efficient AI systems that minimise data usage, averting the looming environmental damage caused by AI's exponential expansion.