If the UK is to prosper, it must play a leading role in the AI movement

Apr 4, 2018 · Guest post from Russ Shaw, Founder of Tech London Advocates, for NS Tech

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Artificial intelligence (AI) will have a profound effect on nearly every aspect of business and society in the not so distant future. The implications of this technology are yet to be fully understood by industry leaders and policymakers alike. Even academics are struggling to achieve a consensus on its economic impact. But what we can be sure of is that if the UK is to continue to prosper, it will need to play a leading role in this movement. It is vital that the UK carves out a place in the global AI landscape and establishes itself as a destination for the disruptive deep tech businesses of tomorrow, alongside the dominant tech forces of the US and China.

There is a unique role for the UK to play within the global field of AI, one that avoids having to compete with the world’s data giants and complements Britain’s existing tech ecosystem. The UK can secure a position between the US and China, as a progressive regulator and home to the brightest and best minds, utilising vast quantities of foreign data to create commercially scalable applications and helping to build a global hub for AI firms.

Data is the driving force in the development of AI technologies and an area where the UK is at a distinct disadvantage in terms of size and scale. Silicon Valley is home to some of the world’s largest technology businesses, the likes of Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple, and on the other side of the world, China, in a relatively short amount of time has created its own tech titans, many in the Pearl River Delta, including Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu. All have access to an exceptional breadth of data from which to test, implement and prove concepts in artificial intelligence technologies.

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