Investing in Generative-AI to exploit its potential in a national context and improve strategic sectors such as health and education in order to offer more effective services to citizens. This is the project the UK is focusing on (Generative-AI), which has announced the allocation of £100 million (equivalent to around 113 million euros) to create a task force that can show the way and accelerate the development of AI-based models that have an impact on society.
In the wake of ChatGPT‘s success, the UK government is moving to engage industry bigwigs to ensure the country has the tools to become a scientific and technological superpower by 2030. This is the ultimate goal of the pact struck between Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the Secretary for Science, Innovation and Technology, Michelle Donelan. “Harnessing the potential of artificial intelligence offers enormous opportunities to grow our economy, create better paying jobs and build a better future,” Sunak said.
Broader and more detailed is the vision of the government colleague, with references to the need to work collectively and responsibly towards artificial intelligence. ‘It can have a huge impact in almost every sector and revolutionise the way we create new medical treatments, tackle climate change and improve our public services, thereby growing our economy,’ explained Donelan.
He also added how this needs to be done: “The basic requirement is to work consciously and judiciously, developing the security and reliability of AI-based systems, because this will ensure that the public and businesses have the confidence to confidently adopt this technology and take full advantage of its benefits.
A good beginning but few resources
As laudable as it is necessary, the UK’s idea is flawed by a fundamental limitation, as investing £100 million is a pittance compared to the flood of money secured from Microsoft to OpenAI for the development of ChatGPT, as well as from Google to Bard and from venture capital to various AI startups, such as Anthropic, which focuses on advancing the security of AI systems on a large scale.
The government funding is also in addition to the £900 million investment for the new supercomputer dedicated to artificial intelligence research, so that the country has the processing power it needs to support innovation through AI.
There has yet to be a name for the task force, which will be made up of industry experts, IT specialists and government officials, who will report directly to the Prime Minister and the Technology Secretary. Based on the precedent orchestrated to deal with the Covid-19 vaccine emergency, the task force’s priority will be setting out steps to develop AI-based systems safely. The launch of the first pilot projects aimed at public services should take place within the next six months. This is enough time to fine-tune the main prerogatives, while keeping the balance between the obligation to regulate AI tools and the need to bring innovations that can change processes and methods in multiple areas of use.
Two strategic sectors for UK focusing on Generative-AI
Healthcare and education are the first two crucial sectors identified by the government for major transformations, useful for demonstrating to citizens and companies that they must have confidence in this technology. As was already the case with the Coronavirus push in relation to healthcare, thanks to AI, the medical sector can achieve an acceleration in diagnoses and the development of new drugs while looking at the everyday life of teachers, tools such as ChatGPT can offer innovative ideas to change the way teachers teach, and students learn.
As long as we do not push too hard on the powers of AI, so as to avoid a second disappointment after the pompous prospects related to virtual reality, still confined to a niche of services and users.
Looking at the present and the future, however, the British government is in no doubt about the need to rely on UK Generative-AI, which is set to increase world GDP by 7% over the next decade. A prediction that may be too far-fetched but, beyond the numbers, AI is now among us and so we have no choice but to focus our forces on how to harness it to advance society and people’s lives.