UK Digital Secretary to announce line-up of the AI Council

There is an extraordinary opportunity lurking within the AI revolution, of that there is no doubt — after-all, PwC has projected that AI will be worth $15.7 trillion by 2030.

The AI Council is meant to help ensure that the UK can become a leader in AI and data.

AI: when a lot of people hear that acronym they think of movies by Stephen Spielberg, or a naked Arnold Schwarzenegger coming back from the future to change history. The reality is quite different. Indeed, those who work in the business prefer the term machine learning.

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Machine learning is becoming the phrase that data scientists hide from CVs, putting a data science model into production is the biggest data challenge, and companies are still not getting it. We spoke to a data expert on the state of data science, and why machine learning is a more appropriate phrase than AI. Read here

The eventual aim of the AI Council is to promote the UK as a major player in this space, but there are battles that must be won in order to achieve this. Among them, to try and and create a more positive public perception, to try and turn fear of AI from the extreme predictions of science fiction and fears over job losses into seeing it as an opportunity.

Indeed, the UK, home to DeepMind, Alan Turing and ARM, does indeed have an opportunity to become a key player in this field, especially in ethical AI. As Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright said: “Britain is already a leading authority in AI. “We are home to some of the world’s finest academic institutions, landing record levels of investment to the sector and attracting the best global tech talent.”

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As well as advising the UK government on how to improve its use of the technology, the AI Council will promote industry-to-industry cooperation, boost the understanding of AI in the business world, and identify barriers to growth and innovation.

The AI Council states that it “will cultivate and encourage a much wider representation of experts to focus on specific topics which will initially include, but not limited to, data & ethics, adoption, skills and diversity. This will allow the broader AI community to work together to drive towards solutions and engage in making the UK a leader in the AI and data revolution.”

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The AI Council is chaired by Tabitha Goldstaub, co-founder of the online platform CognitionX. She said: “If we are to grasp the full benefits of AI technologies it is vital all of the AI community comes together and works with the AI Council to create an open dialogue between industry, academia and the public sector, so we can see social and economic benefits for all of society”

Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “The use of artificial intelligence is becoming integral to people’s everyday lives, from companies protecting their customers from fraud to smart devices in our homes.” He continued, saying that the AI Council can help develop “this ever-changing industry into one that is world-leading, attracting the brightest and best to work in new highly-skilled jobs.”

“We recognise that AI is the most important technology of our time and that the UK government is in a particularly strong position to benefit from it, because it can make public services both better and cheaper at the same time,” said Dr Marc Warner, the CEO and co-founder of Faculty, who has been appointed to the UK’s AI Council.

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The full list of members includes:

● Wendy Hall – Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton
● Professor Adrian Smith – Institute Director and Chief Executive, Alan Turing Institute
● Alice Bentinck – Co-founder, Entrepreneur First
● Alice Webb – Director for Children’s and Education at the BBC
● Ann Cairns – Executive Vice Chair of Mastercard
● Professor Chris Bishop – Microsoft Technical Fellow and Director of the Microsoft Research Lab in Cambridge, UK
● Dr Claire Craig – Chief Science Policy Officer, Royal Society
● Professor David Lane – Professor & Founding Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics
● Kriti Sharma – AI for good founder
● Marc Warner – CEO, Faculty
● Professor Maire O’Neill – Professor at Queen’s University Belfast
● Sir Mark Walport – Chief Executive, UKRI
● Martin Tisne – Managing Director, Luminate
● Mustafa Suleyman – Co-Founder, Deepmind
● Professor Neil Lawrence – Professor at the University of Sheffield and Director, Machine Learning at Amazon
● Professor Nick Jennings – Vice-Provost Research and Enterprise, Imperial College
● Dame Patricia Hodgson – Member of the Independent Commission on Freedom of Information and Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation
● Paul Clarke – Chief Technology Officer, Ocado
● Professor Pete Burnap – Professor of Data Science & Cybersecurity at Cardiff University
● Priya Lakhani – Founder of edtech AI platform CENTURY Tech
● Rachel Dunscombe – CEO, NHS Digital Academy

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Michael Baxter

.Michael Baxter is a tech, economic and investment journalist. He has written four books, including iDisrupted and Living in the age of the jerk. He is the editor of and the host of the ESG...