AI sector deal aims to free data for entrepreneurs

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has announced a ‘sector deal’ for the artificial intelligence (AI) sector, hoping to make the UK a centre for technology startups and data-driven industries.

The government says AI is emerging in its own right as a nascent industry “with the potential to raise the productivity of diverse sectors and create entirely new jobs.” To promote the sector, BEIS plans a new AI Council with members from academia and industry; a new delivery body within the government – the Office for Artificial Intelligence – to support it; and a new Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation.

Funding streams include £20 million to help the UK’s service industries develop pilot projects to identify how AI can transform and enhance their operations. A further £21 million will be used to create Tech Nation, a new UK-wide organisation working across the country to create a high-growth tech network for ambitious entrepreneurs, including a programme for mid-stage AI companies to help bring them to scale.

Other government action includes 

  • Enhancing the UK’s existing data infrastructure by publishing more high quality public data in an open, easily findable and reusable format suitable for machine learning.
  • Establishing a  Geospatial Commission to improve access to geospatial data to a wider range of users, including businesses using and innovating with AI technologies. 

Full details of the sector deal

Further reading:

Interview: Jo-Jo Hubbard, Electron

Interview: Sian Baldwin, Xoserve