Industry report places UK in pole position for AI investment

Tim Maytom

British firms are set to excel in AI innovation in the coming years, with the UK placing just behind China and the US when it comes to global progress in the realm of artificial intelligence, according to a major report by the Big Innovation Centre and Deep Knowledge Analytics.

The 2200-page report is the largest industry analysis conducted to date, and features invidivual profiles of 1000 companies, 600 investors, 80 influencers and 35 tech hubs and research institutes, as well as multiple private and government entities that are aiding the development of the UK AI industry.

While China is actively challenging the US for overall dominance of the international AI race, the UK is well-positioned to become a leader in specific areas including fintech and healthcare. The UK could also lead the way in the development of AI ethics, governance and safety frameworks on a global scale, and has the potential to set the gold standard for 'good trusted AI'.

"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," said Professor Birgitte Andersen, CEO of the Big Innovation Centre. "The Chancellor of the Exchequer is announcing the Budget on 29 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 report comes around three months after a similar research project showed the UK had a strong potential to serve as a global leader in the development of blockchain-based technology and the crypto-economy.

"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," said 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. "Our previous reports by the Lords Select Committee on AI in the UK Parliament highlighted the nation's very strong potiential 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."