London may be the artificial intelligence (AI) capital of Europe, but City Hall believes the benefits of AI are failing to trickle down to small businesses.
The mayor Sadiq Khan will give 200 small businesses in London a share of £200,000 to enhance their use of AI.
“London is a leading hub for innovation in artificial intelligence and some of the advances being made right here in the capital are revolutionising how business is done,” Khan said.
“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, and I firmly believe these innovations should be available to companies of all sizes, not just the ones with the deepest pockets.”
A study by AI platform Cognition X last year found London is home to more than 750 companies working in AI – more than twice as many as Paris and Berlin, its nearest competitors, combined.
AI is defined as a computer system that can perform tasks which normally require human intelligence, like visual perception, speech recognition, decision making and translation between languages.
Under Khan’s Technology for Business scheme, the first round of successful companies will connect with a dedicated case worker and trained to use enhanced web tools. Retailers will get 24/7 support for customers, while hotels will get tailored recommendations for guests.
The scheme is funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and the London School of Economics, Capital Enterprise and Cognition X have joined as partners.
“London is one of the best places in the world for innovation,” Tabitha Goldstaub, co-founder of Cognition X, said. “We have a unique opportunity to catalyse adoption of artificial intelligence with the businesses that will benefit the most.”
Dr Anna Valero, innovation fellow at the London School of Economics, said the results of the funding would inform local and national governments to improve access to technology.