Surging AI industry in the UK
An article published on Open Access Government on 24 October 2018
A major report by Big Innovation Centre and Deep Knowledge Analytics places the UK in the third spot in the global rankings for the AI industry and it foresees it excelling in specific subsectors and areas in the coming years
While China is actively challenging the US as the dominant leader in the international AI race, the UK is well positioned to become an international leader in specific niches, including healthcare and fintech. The UK could also lead the way in the development of AI ethics, governance and safety frameworks on a global scale. The report identifies the substantial potential for the UK to set the gold standard for “Good Trusted AI” by thought-leading international protocols and standards for the prevention of oppression, discrimination and biases resulting from the unethical use of AI.
The 2200-page report is the largest industry analysis conducted to date; featuring individual profiles of the 1000 companies, 600 investors, 80 influencers, 35 tech hubs and research institutes, and multiple private and government entities leading the development of the UK AI-industry. Big Innovation Centre coordinated the work behind the report and acquired input from the All Party Parliamentary Group on AI, which has been a vital source of expertise on the state of AI in the UK. The contribution made by Deep Knowledge Analytics is strengthened by its specific experience conducting advanced studies of DeepTech sectors. The firm is particularly focused on the global AI market in order to assist in the comparative analysis of the UK AI-industry against the background of the international AI landscape.
AI has become much more than a technological advancement, and is now considered to be the most impactful and growing sector, affecting the future of entire nations. The UK Government has proven itself as one of the most proactive and progressive countries in its national AI-strategy, making it internationally recognised among the most pragmatic and balanced strategies. The analysis establishes several key contributing factors:
- The UK now has an AI industry of a critical scale in the global economy
- Investment in UK AI businesses has now exceeded $5bn (£3.8bn) overall and keeps accelerating
- London being a leading financial global hub
- The scientific prowess and intellectual excellence emanating from AI-savvy UK universities
- UK’s reputation for developing strong ethical traditions relating to governance and business
Professor Birgitte Andersen, CEO of Big Innovation Centre, said: “The UK now has a solid foundation to become a global AI leader, but Government must cement our unique position through investment into AI from all sectors of our economy – science, entrepreneurship, infrastructure, governance, blockchain and skills.”
Andersen added: “The Chancellor of the Exchequer is announcing the Budget on the 29th of October. He should know that we are living through an economic period where success brings more success, and big is good but bigger is better.
The UK’s AI industry’s growth is now reaching astonishing pace, creating incredible opportunities within an ecosystem well positioned for international collaboration with the US and China. Not to mention working with other global growing AI hubs in Singapore, Hong Kong and the Middle East.
The UK can become a true epicentre of fair, safe and unbiased international AI-cooperation.”
Lord Clement-Jones CBE, Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on AI and Chair of the House of Lords Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence, said: “As shown in the report of the UK AI landscape, we have now reached the inflection point which can be reasonably described as the Cambrian Explosion of AI in the UK. Our previous reports by the Lords Select Committee on AI in the UK Parliament highlighted the nation’s very strong potential to become a global leader in AI, provided that sufficient commitments from the UK Government were made in order to prioritise it as a matter of national strategic importance from investment in industry to trust in data and algorithms.”
He added: “There’s been a substantial surge of activities on the part of the UK throughout the past several months, ranging from the excellent work of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on AI to the establishment of the Government Office for AI. There are also well-funded Government and private sector partnerships and initiatives such as the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation. It is clear that the UK has strongly confirmed its commitment to prioritise the further development of AI as a core part of its national agenda.”
This report is the first step in an ongoing effort to provide a framework for assessing the optimal road forward for the UK AI-industry and economy, and for leveraging tools and assets the UK can offer.