The UK government has recently announced a significant investment in artificial intelligence (AI) ethics, with the Prime Minister and Technology Secretary unveiling a £100 million initiative to support the development and implementation of safe and reliable foundation models in AI. This investment aims to bolster the UK’s position as a global science and technology superpower by 2030.
UK taskforce to promote safe AI adoption
The government has established a new taskforce, modeled after the successful COVID-19 Vaccines Taskforce, which will bring together government and industry experts to collaborate on the safe and reliable use of foundation models across various sectors of the economy.
These models, such as large language models like ChatGPT and Google Bard, use AI systems trained on massive data sets to perform a wide range of tasks.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak asserted that harnessing the potential of AI provides enormous opportunities to grow the UK’s economy, create better-paid jobs, and build a better future through advances in healthcare and security.
Sunak added that by investing in emerging technologies through the new expert taskforce, the UK can continue to lead the way in developing safe and trustworthy AI as part of shaping a more innovative national economy.
Investing in future growth and innovation
Research suggests that the broad adoption of AI systems could triple national productivity growth rates and raise global GDP by 7 percent over a decade.
In light of this, the taskforce will focus on developing the safety and reliability of foundation models, both at a scientific and commercial level, to support businesses and ensure public trust in these systems.
Science, Innovation, and Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan claimed that developed responsibly, cutting-edge AI can have a transformative impact on nearly every industry.
Donelan emphasized that the UK needs to act now to seize the opportunities AI can offer in the future, and that the taskforce will prioritize ensuring the safety and reliability of such systems.
The £100 million investment will be used for foundation model infrastructure and public service procurement, with the first pilots targeting public services expected to launch in the next six months.
This funding comes on top of a £900 million investment in a new exascale supercomputer and a dedicated AI Research Resource, which aim to equip the UK with the processing power needed to support the next generation of AI innovation.
Reactions from the industry
Doug Gurr, Chair of The Alan Turing Institute, congratulated the government on this exciting investment and expressed his eagerness to work with all relevant partners to help develop breakthrough AI applications in a safe, reliable, trustworthy, and ethical way.
Marc Warner, CEO of Faculty, emphasized that AI is an epoch-defining technology that will revolutionize how people live and work if deployed safely and responsibly.
He welcomed the initial funding towards this goal, which he believes will help ensure safe deployment and protect national security while harnessing AI’s power to transform public services.
The funding announcement follows Business Connect, an event aimed at making Britain the most innovative economy in the world by bringing government and industry together to focus on digital technology and life sciences.