The UK could be the next big global artificial intelligence superpower as the government leads the way with public sector investment.
According to a new independent report carried out by WPI Economics, on behalf of software firm Splunk, the UK is forging ahead of its European rivals in many aspects of how it embeds data and uses new technologies across departments and agencies, especially compared to leaders like France, Germany and the Netherlands.
It revealed that the government has invested more than £2.3bn since 2014 into AI to improve data management, allowing it to play a key role during the pandemic.
For instance, the NHS was a pioneer with AI for medical imaging, using it to better detect the severity of a patient’s condition and provide direct patient care.
Despite this, the report warned that more needs to be done to improve data capabilities across government.
It argued that several departments still do not have a data strategy, with too few civil servants with the requisite knowledge to improve data usage and share data.
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Michelle Donelan welcomed the study, stating that the UK “could and should be a global superpower in this space in the coming years”.
This drive has also been a key talking point for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who said during his speech at the CBI this week that innovation would be a “defining focus in my government”.
Part of these plans include enticing more high-skilled migrants in areas like AI into the UK, said Sunak.
“We cannot allow the world’s top AI talent to be drawn to America or China,” he said.