The University of Southampton

Professor Dame Wendy Hall calls for UK to extract value from AI in major review

Published: 16 October 2017

A major review of the UK’s burgeoning Artificial Intelligence (AI) industry, co-led by Professor Dame Wendy Hall, has set out proposals for how Government, academia and industry can work together and increase use of AI across the economy.

The report, Growing the Artificial Intelligence Industry in the UK, analyses the UK’s current capability in this area and sets out bold proposals for how the UK can stay ahead of the competition and ensure the adoption of cutting-edge AI brings with it substantial benefits for people and businesses across the country.

Dame Wendy, Regius Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton and Director of the Web Science Institute, is particularly keen to ensure that it is used to “inform the establishment of initiatives and programmes to help us extract the most value from AI for the country; that includes an emphasis on increasing and improving our skill levels to prepare the workforce for the number of jobs the industry will need for the future”.

“I was very honoured to be asked to co-chair this review at a time when AI is set to make major changes to the way we live and work,” Dame Wendy continued. “AI has been around for a very long time as a concept and this latest surge of technological development is likely to see automation continue to escalate and accelerate in every walk of life. Now is the time for us all - scientists, researchers, entrepreneurs and the government - to come together and address the issues about how AI is going to impact society and seek ways to ensure that we’re able to deliver the great breakthroughs the technology has the potential to deliver.”

The review, co-lead by Jérôme Pesenti, Chief Executive of BenevolentTech, highlights how AI can boost UK productivity, and has the potential to add £630 billion to the UK economy by 2035. The report makes 18 recommendations for how to make the UK the best place in the world for businesses developing AI to start, grow, and thrive.

The report’s recommendations for how Government, academia and industry can work together will now be carefully considered in discussions towards an Industrial Strategy sector deal between Government and the AI industry.

Professor Bashir Al-Hashimi, Dean of Physical Sciences and Engineering, added, “I am delighted that our Regius Professor of Computer Science has been in a key leadership position for this Government review, which will be an important component for the continuing development of AI in the UK. Our Faculty and its Department of Electronics and Computer Science have critical expertise in AI and will make a significant contribution to the implementation of the AI review recommendations. We have already invested in new academics and we plan to invest further.”

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