Artificial Intelligence (AI) presents enormous opportunities, not just in terms of how we do business, but in how we interact with one another.
Home to a number of innovative businesses and top talent, the UK has a head start in the race to explore AI’s potential for good, and an unrivalled opportunity to shape the global conversation developing around its uses and risks.
It is why I am delighted to be hosting an AI summit dinner at Guildhall this evening, bringing together in one room politicians – including the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, Michelle Donelan – policy experts, researchers and scientistss. It will, I hope, prove a useful precursor to the government’s global AI Safety Summit taking place later this week, fittingly, at Bletchley Park.
Despite its ancient roots, the City of London has throughout its history been a place of continual adaptation and innovation, proudly embracing change. On the question of Artificial Intelligence (AI), it is imperative that we do so again.
Indeed, the AI sector already contributes £3.7bn to the UK economy, with 3,000 AI firms based around our isles, employing some 50,000 people in total. In fact, we lead Europe with over 55 per cent of all AI-related private investment from venture capital, private equity and angel investors. Globally, the UK ranks third to only the US and China in terms of AI private capital.
It’s easy to see why, then, Anthropic and OpenAI – two emerging behemoths of the AI world – both opened offices in London earlier this year. When announcing our capital as the destination of their first office outside the US, the latter gave credit to the UK’s “vibrant technology ecosystem” and “exceptional talent.”
Whether it’s to enhance customer experience or improve risk management, to remain competitive and futureproof their offer for tomorrow’s global customer base businesses operating in the Square Mile understand that AI is vital. Around one in six UK organisations are already making use of at least one AI technology, with 90 per cent of banks having dedicated resources to Generative AI initiatives.
Our new report published today with EY – AI: Accelerating Innovation – shows that AI can not only turbocharge the entire financial and professional services sector, but in doing so, support considerable growth across the whole country too. Crucially, though, if we are to realise that potential, we must be able to trust the technology.
That means working with regulators, other governments and, of course, the industry itself, building a regulatory framework that is robust and alert to the risks, but which remains proportionate, agile and flexible enough to evolve as the technology develops. A collaborative approach – across sectors and borders – to accelerate growth and share success.
With leading FPS figures, the City of London Corporation recently set out a roadmap demonstrating how we can unlock £225 billion of investment in the UK by 2030. Unsurprisingly, AI was identified as a key component, but to make it work, each of those pillars just mentioned – government, regulator and industry – need to invest in a mindset unabashedly focused on innovation and growth, showing collective leadership on emerging technologies like AI.
The world is changing. With or without us, AI will transform every city, sector and job. It is an immense opportunity and a challenge, but one we should grab with both hands. The City stands ready to play its part again.