National AI Strategy

28/09/2021

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the fastest growing deep technology in the world, with huge potential to rewrite the rules of entire industries, drive substantial economic growth and transform all areas of life. The UK Government’s new National AI Strategy will help strengthen its position as a global science superpower and sets out how it will be achieved over the next 10 years. The full strategy and how they plan on implementing it can be found here. Atticus Communications has summarised the key highlights below.

Overview

Artificial Intelligence technologies (AI) offer the potential to transform the UK’s economic landscape and improve people’s lives across the country, transforming industries and delivering first-class public services. The National AI Strategy builds on the UK’s current strengths and represents the start of a step-change for AI in the UK, recognising that maximising the potential of AI will increase resilience, productivity, growth and innovation across the private and public sectors. The UK government sees being competitive in AI as vital to our national ambitions on regional prosperity and for share global challenges such as net zero, health resilience and environmental sustainability. AI capability is therefore vital for the UK’s international influence as a global science superpower.

The National AI Strategy will prepare the UK for the next 10 years, and is built on three assumptions:

1) The key drivers of progress, discovery and strategic advantage in AI are access to people, data, compute and finance- all of which face huge global competition.

2) AI will become mainstream in much of the economy and action will be required to ensure every sector and region of the UK benefit from the transition.

3) Governance and regulatory regimes will need to keep pace with the fast-changing demands of AI, maximising growth and competition, and protecting the safety, security, choices and rights of our citizens.

The National AI Strategy does not stand alone however, it purposefully supports and amplifies the other, interconnected work of the government including the Plan for Growth, the Innovation Strategy, the Integrated Review, the National Data Strategy, the Plan for Digital Regulation, the upcoming National Cyber Strategy, the forthcoming Digital Strategy and the upcoming National Resilience Strategy.

The Strategy

The UK’s National AI Strategy




Image Source: HM Government- National AI Strategy- September 2021

Pillar 1: Investing in the long-term needs of the AI ecosystem

The Government’s aim is to greatly increase the type, frequency and scale of AI discoveries which are developed and exploited in the UK. This will be achieve through the following steps:

- Making sure the UK’s research, development and innovation system continues to be world leading, providing the support to allow researchers and entrepreneurs to forge new frontiers in AI

- Guaranteeing that the UK has access to a diverse range of people with the skills needed to develop the AI of the future and to deploy it to meet the demands of the new economy

- Ensuring innovators have access to the data and computing resources necessary to develop and deliver the systems that will drive the UK economy for the next decade

- Supporting growth for AI through a pro innovation business environment and capital market, and attracting the best people and firms to set up shop in the UK

- Ensuring UK AI developers can access markets around the world

Pillar 2: Ensuring AI benefits all sectors and regions

The Government’s aim is to diffuse AI across the whole economy to drive the highest amount of economic and productivity growth due to AI. This will be achieved by:

- Supporting AI businesses on their commercial journey, understanding the unique challenges they face and helping them get to market and supporting innovation in high potential sectors and locations where the market currently doesn’t reach

- Understanding better the factors that influence the decisions to adopt AI into organisations – which includes an understanding of when not to

- Ensuring AI is harnessed to support outcomes across the Government’s Innovation Strategy, including by purposefully leveraging our leading AI capabilities to tackle real-world problems facing the UK and world through our Innovation Missions, while driving forward discovery

- Leveraging the whole public sector’s capacity to create demand for AI and markets for new services

Pillar 3: Governing AI effectively

The Government’s aim is to build the most trusted and pro-innovation system for AI governance in the world. This will be achieved through the following:

- Establishing an AI governance framework that addresses the unique challenges and opportunities of AI, while being flexible, proportionate and without creating unnecessary burdens

- Enabling AI products and services to be trustworthy, by supporting the development of an ecosystem of AI assurance tools and services to provide meaningful information about AI systems to users and regulators

- Growing the UK’s contribution to the development of global AI technical standards, to translate UK R&D for trustworthy AI into robust, technical specifications and processes that can support our AI governance model, ensure global interoperability and minimise the costs of regulatory compliance

- Building UK regulators’ capacities to use and assess AI, ensuring that they can deliver on their responsibilities as new AI-based products and services come to market

- Setting an example in the safe and ethical deployment of AI, with the government leading from the front

- Working with our partners around the world to promote international agreements and standards that deliver for our prosperity and security, and promote innovation that harnesses the benefits of AI as we embed our values such as fairness, openness, liberty, security, democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights

The National AI Strategy proposes that the above three pillars, taken together, are areas the UK can make the biggest impact to set the country on its way to being an AI and science superpower fit for the coming decade. As a result of its ever changing nature, further actions will be needed to elaborate on the paths set out in this strategy, these will be published in the near future. The government will also be talking to the wider community in order to track progress and course-correct if they are falling short in a particular area.

To summarise, the UK’s National AI Strategy will (1) invest and plan for the long-term needs of the AI ecosystem to continue our leadership as a science and AI superpower, (2) support the transition to an AI-enabled economy, capturing the benefits of innovation in the UK and ensuring AI benefits all sectors and regions and (3) ensure the UK gets the national and international governance of AI technologies right to encourage innovation, investment, and protect the public and our fundamental values.