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Major Review into AI and Robotics Announced

Chloe Henderson

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The UK Government has launched a “major review” into the development of artificial intelligence and robotics as part of the government’s long awaited ‘Digital Strategy.’

It will be accompanied by a commitment of £17.3 million in funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to universities developing AI and robotics technologies.

Led by Dame Wendy Hall, a computer science professor from the University of Southampton, and Jérôme Pesenti, the chief executive of AI company BenevolentAI, it will examine how the government and industry can work together to drive growth in the sector.

“There has been a lot of unwarranted negative hype around Artificial Intelligence (AI), but it has the ability to drive enormous growth for the UK economy, create jobs, foster new skills, positively transform every industry and retain Britain’s status as a world leader in innovative technology,” Pesenti said.

The review is backed by claims made by independent consulting firm Accenture, estimating that AI could inject up to £654 billion into the UK economy by 2035.

UK culture secretary Karen Bradley, who is set to formally announce the Digital Strategy on Wednesday March 1, said: “Britain has a proud history of digital innovation – from the earliest days of computing to Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s development of the World Wide Web.

“We are already pioneer’s in today’s Artificial Intelligence revolution and the digital strategy will build on our strengths to make sure UK based scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs continue to be at the forefront.

“Technologies like AI have the potential to transform how we live, work, travel and learn, and I am pleased that Professor Dame Wendy Hall and Jérôme Pesenti will be leading this review. It’s great that government and industry will be working together to drive growth in the sector, to realise all the economic and social benefits for the UK.”

The review has received a positive response from AI and robotics institutes based in Edinburgh, which is home to the world-renowned Edinburgh School of Informatics.

Herriot Watt University Research and Enterprise tweeted that the review was “great” news, and that they hoped some of the EPSRC university funding would find its way north.

Chloe Henderson

Staff Writer - DIGIT

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