National AI strategy outlined by the UK
National AI strategy outlined by the UK includes plans for each sector in efforts to create a strong AI ecosystem.
The UK, in acknowledgement of the importance of AI as one of the fastest growing technologies, has outlined a national AI strategy. This integrative strategy is intended to build on the UK’s strength in that regard and position the country as a global AI superpower. In 2017, the UK’s industrial strategy included plans to make the UK a global centre for AI innovation. In April 2018, the government and the UK’s AI ecosystem agreed upon a close to £1 billion deal to boost the AI Sector and secure the UK’s global position as a leader in developing AI technologies. Now in an effort to further advance the nation’s situation with regard to artificial intelligence a new national AI strategy outlined by the UK has been published.
This new National AI strategy seeks to transition the UK to an AI enabled economy by investing in the long term needs of the AI ecosystem.
The UK, in preparing itself for the next ten years, works under a few assumptions which will affect the trajectory of their AI plans. The UK believes that key drivers of progress, discovery and strategic advantage in AI are access to people, data, compute and finance. The nation also assumes that AI will become mainstream in most of the economy and therefore believes that action will be required to ensure that every sector and region of the UK will benefit from this transition. As a result, the UK’s governance and regulatory regimes will need to keep up with the fast-changing demands of AI, maximising growth and competition, focusing on innovation, and protecting the safety, security, choices and rights of its citizens.
The national AI strategy outlined by the UK will require the involvement of diverse talents and views of society.
The plan outlined by the UK will involve almost every sector and includes short to long term goals to bolster the economy and ensure that it is AI friendly and AI driven. This will include ensuring that the UK is in line with national and international AI governance, encouraging innovation and investment, and protecting the public’s fundamental values, rights and freedoms. The UK holds a 10 year vision of an AI enabled economy and has broken this vision down into short term, medium term and long term key action steps. These are outlined in the following graphic.
|Forecasted timing||Investing in the long-term needs of the AI ecosystem||Ensuring AI benefits all sectors and regions||Governing AI effectively|
|Short term (next 3 months)||Publish a framework for government’s role in enabling better data availability in the wider economy||Begin engagement on the Draft National Strategy for AI-driven technologies in Health and Social Care, through the NHS AI Lab||Publish the CDEI assurance roadmap|
|Consult on the role and options for a National Cyber-Physical Infrastructure Framework||Publish the Defence AI Strategy, through the Ministry of Defence||Determine the role of data protection in wider AI governance following the Data: A new direction consultation|
|Support the development of AI, data science and digital skills through the Department for Education’s Skills Bootcamps||Launch a consultation on copyright and patents for AI through the IPO||Publish details of the approaches the Ministry of Defence will use when adopting and using AI|
|Develop an all-of-government approach to international AI activity|
|Medium term (next 6-12 months)||Publish research into what skills are needed to enable employees to use AI in a business setting and identify how national skills provision can meet those needs||Publish research into opportunities to encourage diffusion of AI across the economy||Publish White Paper on a pro-innovation national position on governing and regulating AI|
|Evaluate the private funding needs and challenges of AI scaleups||Consider how Innovation Missions include AI capabilities, such as in energy||Complete an in-depth analysis on algorithmic transparency, with a view to develop a cross-government standard|
|Support the National Centre for Computing Education to ensure AI programmes for schools are accessible||Extend UK aid to support local innovation in developing countries||Pilot an AI Standards Hub to coordinate UK engagement in AI standardisation globally|
|Support a broader range of people to enter AI-related jobs by ensuring career pathways highlight opportunities to work with or develop AI||Build an open repository of AI challenges with real-world applications||Establish medium and long term horizon scanning functions to increase government’s awareness of AI safety|
|Implement the US UK Declaration on Cooperation in AI R&D|
|Publish a review into the UK’s compute capacity needs to support AI innovation, commercialisation and deployment|
|Roll out new visa regimes to attract the world’s best AI talent to the UK|
|Long term (next 12 months and beyond)||Undertake a review of our international and domestic approach to semiconductor supply chains||Launch joint Office for AI / UKRI programme to stimulate the development and adoption of AI technologies in high potential, lower-AI-maturity sectors||Explore with stakeholders the development of an AI technical standards engagement toolkit to support the AI ecosystem to engage in the global AI standardisation landscape|
|Consider what open and machine-readable government datasets can be published for AI models||Continue supporting the development of capabilities around trustworthiness, adoptability, and transparency of AI technologies through the National AI Research and Innovation Programme||Work with global partners on shared R&D challenges, leveraging Overseas Development Assistance to put AI at the heart of partnerships worldwide|
|Launch a new National AI Research and Innovation Programme that will align funding programmes across UKRI and support the wider ecosystem||Join up across government to identify where using AI can provide a catalytic contribution to strategic challenges||Work with The Alan Turing Institute to update guidance on AI ethics and safety in the public sector|
|Back diversity in AI by continuing existing interventions across top talent, PhDs, AI and Data Science Conversion Courses and Industrial Funded Masters||Work with national security, defence, and leading researchers to understand what public sector actions can safely advance AI and mitigate catastrophic risks|
|Monitor and use National Security and Investment Act to protect national security while keeping the UK open for business|
|Include trade deal provisions in emerging technologies, including AI|
The UK currently faces challenges which questions the adequacy of its current approach With regard to regulating AI. The current regulations are inconsistent across sectors, with overlap between various mandates, among other challenges. For many reasons, the UK government is looking to take a sector-led approach to regulating AI. This is expected to be very beneficial due to the fact that the uses of AI and by extensions the effects thereof are broad and complex. At the moment, individual industries and regulators are already beginning to respond to the risks associated with AI.
What can we expect to see regarding AI regulation in the UK?
The UK has set out clear plans for regulation. As early as the start of 2022, we can expect the publication of a white paper detailing the country’s pro-innovation national position on governing and regulating AI. A CDEI AI assurance roadmap which is expected to be used to continue work to develop a mature AI assurance ecosystem in the UK is also expected to be published. We can also expect to see some collaboration with national security, as well as researchers, and the Alan Turing Institute to prevent risks and update guidance regarding the use of AI. The UK also plans to pilot an AI Standards Hub to coordinate UK engagement in AI standardisation globally. Locally, there are plans to develop a cross-government standard for algorithmic transparency and cross-government processes to accurately assess long term AI safety and risks.
This ten year plan to bolster the UK economy with AI will require clear rules, applied ethical principles and a pro-innovation regulatory environment. The aim is to make the UK a globally-competitive, AI-first economy which benefits every region and sector. As a result the UK seeks to give businesses, including startups and SMEs access to the people, knowledge and infrastructure needed to get ahead of the transformational change AI will bring.
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