William Webster

written by

William Webster

Researcher, Avoncourt Partners GmbH

Culture Blog - Aug 27, 2018

AI should get Government Boost

The Artificial intelligence industry should receive government boosts in order for countries to stay on par with AI developments around the world. Corporations and big tech companies are offering MOOCs to inspire and educate a new generation of AI developers. Their efforts should be paired with government efforts to increase (or keep) each nation’s piece of the AI pie.

Worldwide business concept. Futuristic graphical user interface.

A British government-sponsored review in 2017 into the potential impact of AI on the UK economy urged support for public-sector funding into AI research and development.

Published under the joint aegis of the departments for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the report – Growing the artificial intelligence industry in the UK – is positioned as a contribution to the British government’s industrial strategy.

Wendy Hall and Jérôme Pesenti, authors of the report, worked on it since March 2017. Hall is professor of computer science at the University of Southampton, and Pesenti is the chief executive of BenevolentTech, an AI supplier.

The report says the review took input from meetings and workshops that involved more than 100 AI experts drawn from academics and the IT industry.

Chief Project Engineer Consults Tablet Computer and Holds Briefing for a Team of Scientists that are Building Machine Learning System. Displays Show Working Model of Neural Network.

Hall said that the report should “help extract the most value from artificial intelligence for the country; that includes an emphasis on increasing and improving our skill levels to prepare the workforce for the number of jobs the industry will need for the future.”

Pesenti said that the “proposals are deliberately specific and boil down to three fundamentals – enable better access to data, create a greater supply of AI skills and promote the uptake of AI.”

Based on research by the IT services firm Accenture, the report estimates that AI could add an additional £630bn to the UK economy by 2035. It recommends, among other things, to develop “data trusts, to improve trust and ease around sharing data”, to make “more research data machine readable”, and to support “text and data mining”.

It also says businesses should be proactively educated about the value AI can bring to deliver process improvements, and that the public sector should be supported to make use of the technology.

Some countries have already begun proactive public sector support for AI awareness, research and development. China, for example, has already prepared to introduce AI as a required course for secondary schools for the next school year.

At this crux in technological history, the governments and nations that promote and support AI now will be the nations that lead in the future.