UK Well-Positioned To Compete with AI Superpowers US + China – Report

 In Articles, Library

An article published on Artificial Lawyer on 24 October 2018

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A major report has found that the UK is well-positioned to compete with the two main AI superpowers of the world, the US and China. It also found that the UK now has around 1,000 companies, 600 investors and 35 tech hubs/research centres with a focus on AI-based technology.

And Artificial Lawyer is proud to observe that an important slice of the above relates to legal AI companies. Well done everyone!

Many others are in fields such as PropTech, InsurTech, Healthcare, Security and FinTech.

A key finding was that: ‘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.’

One of those specific niches where the UK can do well, this humble website would suggest, is in the legal sector where we have a raft of great legal tech companies making use of machine learning and rules-based AI applications.

The report by Big Innovation Centre and Deep Knowledge Analytics, which have been working closely with the UK Parliament’s All Party Parliamentary Group on AI, said that the UK’s healthy position was down to the following main factors:

  • Investment in UK AI businesses has now exceeded $5bn (£3.8bn) overall and keeps accelerating
  • London’s role as a leading financial global hub
  • The scientific excellence emanating from AI-savvy UK universities
  • UK’s reputation for developing strong ethical traditions relating to governance and business.

How this will be impacted by Brexit and the possible challenges companies here will face in terms of retaining top talent, gaining research funding and generally having to face cross-border trading problems, is yet to be quantified. Hopefully the current good position won’t be too impacted.

The report found that one reason why the UK’s AI sector is doing so well – and we can see this in the work of the legal AI companies here – is that they are very outward looking and international in terms of approach, rather than focused mainly on the home market.

We have also seen plenty of support at a Government level for AI and innovation in general, and in the legal sector we’ve also seen the MoJ, Law Society and SRA, all making serious efforts to support the growth of legal tech, including AI/automation tech, as much as they can at present.

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…and skills.’

Lord Clement-Jones, Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on AI and Chair of the House of Lords Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence, added: ‘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 concluded.

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