In my last article, I referred to how manufacturing needs to be thinking smart and getting a handle on Artificial Intelligence.
On the same day I wrote it, the government announced an AI Sector deal that would see £1 billion invested – £300m from the private sector – aimed at putting the UK at the forefront of AI technology.
It is good to see I am in tune with what is needed and that measures and money are being used to deliver this. But, as I stressed, not all businesses cannot necessarily afford to wait for the updated tech to come to fruition in three, five or 10 years’ time if they want to be market leaders and maximise productivity and profits.
You can take positive steps now, even if that is only thinking about AI. It is evident all businesses must start to do this as this announcement from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, illustrates just how key it is to the future success of UK plc.
There are some incredibly big numbers being banded about that will support, stimulate and research AI. It will cover many sectors, and it is sure to benefit manufacturing. Here’s a closer look at the detail.
- Invest up to £20m in the application of AI in the services sector through the Next Generation Services Industrial Strategy Challenge. This will include a network of Innovation Research Centres and collaborative R&D to develop new applications of AI and data-driven technologies
- Invest £93m from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund into the robotics and AI in extreme environments programme, towards the research and development of robotics and AI technologies
- work with academia, the broader research community, industry and end users to integrate AI into future Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund challenges.
- Create a £20m GovTech Fund, supported by a GovTech Catalyst, which will support tech businesses to provide the government with innovative solutions for more efficient public services
- Raise overall UK R&D intensity by raising total R&D spending across public and private sectors to 2.4 per cent by 2027
- Increase in the rate of the R&D Expenditure Credit from 11 per cent to 12 per cent from January 2018.
- £300m has been allocated by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to fund research related to ‘data science and AI’
- £83m EPSRC funding for 159 AI grants listed under the EPSRC Research Area Artificial Intelligence Technologies.
- £42m EPSRC funding for the Alan Turing Institute
In addition, the government is establishing a Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation to advise on the ethical use of data, including for AI.
This just skims the surface of the plans to deliver a key technology of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. If you want to know more, read the AI Sector Deal in more detail.