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Artificial intelligence takes center stage in the UK

July 1, 2022
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Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: The UK is focused on increasing the use of artificial intelligence and big data, opening potential opportunities for Wisconsin tech companies with expertise in those areas.

The UK is committed to creating an economy that harnesses artificial intelligence (AI) and incorporates big data.

Like the steam engine, electricity and the internet, AI has the potential to make the UK a science superpower, to create economic growth throughout the country and “to revolutionize every aspect of our lives,” the government said in a July 2022 report.

The government has invested more than £2.3 billion ($2.7 billion USD) in AI since 2014 and attracted more investment in AI companies in 2021 than France and Germany combined.

Over the next few years, the UK’s AI market is expected to grow significantly, and the technology is projected to add $880 billion to the UK economy by 2035, according to a 2021 report by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.

The use of AI varies significantly from one industry sector to another. The digital transformation of banking, insurance, health care and business services is seen as a key driver for the growth of AI. The UK also has an increasing number of startups that contribute significantly to AI’s growth.

AI is viewed as the key to the next stage of quality and efficiency improvement in UK manufacturing. Machine learning has the potential to unlock 20% more production capacity through predictive, optimized maintenance of machines, according to the International Trade Administration report.

AI is also being deployed in addressing complex UK public sector challenges and improving efficiency in mainstream public services, with applications in processing taxes, benefits, visas, passports and a variety of government licenses.

Government initiatives include:

  • £250 million ($296.5 million USD) to develop a new National Health Service AI lab to diagnose diseases earlier, free up staff time and empower patients to take more control over their health care
  • £250 million ($296.5 million USD) for connected and autonomous mobility technology—in other words, self-driving vehicles
  • More than £100 million ($118.6 million USD) for AI centers at universities across the country to train a new generation of researchers
  • A new industry-funded AI master’s degree program with up to 1,000 government-funded scholarships
  • Investment in the Alan Turing Institute and more than £46 million ($54.6 million USD) to support Turing fellowships to develop the next generation of top AI talent

According to Tech Nation, the UK has more than 1,300 AI companies, a 600% increase over the past decade. A government report projects that more than 1.3 million companies across the UK will use artificial intelligence by 2040.

Wisconsin companies with expertise in artificial intelligence and big data could find opportunities as technology suppliers or as partners with businesses in the UK.

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