UK gov launches project for global standards in AI

The UK government is launching a project with leading institutions aimed at setting new global technical standards for artificial intelligence (AI).

The pilot for the AI Standards Hub will be led by The Alan Turing Institute, supported by the British Standards Institution and the National Physical Laboratory.

The government said the new AI Standards Hub will create practical tools for businesses, bring the UK’s AI community together through a new online platform, and develop educational materials to help organisations develop and benefit from global standards in a bid to put the UK at the forefront of rapid developments in AI.

The hub will work to improve the governance of AI, complement pro-innovation regulation and unlock the economic potential of these technologies to boost investment and employment now the UK has left the European Union, the government said.

The move is part of the government’s National AI strategy, a 10 year plan to strengthen the country’s position as a global science superpower and “harness AI to transform the economy and society while leading governance and standards to ensure everyone benefits”.

The news comes as government research found that more 1.3 million UK businesses will use AI by 2040 and spending on AI is expected to reach more than £200 billion by the same date.

According to Tech Nation, the UK now has more than 1,300 AI companies – a 600 per cent increase in the number of firms over the last decade. In the same period, venture capital investment surged from $120 million to more than $3.4 billion in 2020.

As part of the AI Standards Hub project, the BSI, the UK National Standards Body, and NPL, the country’s national metrology institute, will share their expertise in developing standards and research to deliver the pilot with The Alan Turing Institute, the national institute for data science and AI.

The hub is backed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Office for AI (OAI).

DCMS minister for tech and the digital economy Chris Philp said: “It’s imperative the UK remains at the forefront of this transformative technology which is already improving our lives and has huge potential to create new jobs and wealth.

“[This pilot] marks the first step in delivering our new National AI Strategy and will develop the tools needed so organisations and consumers can benefit from all the opportunities of AI. We want the UK to lead the world in developing AI standards.”

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