UK government funds 1000 AI PhDs to push country's tech innovation

More than 50 companies contributed to an AI Sector Deal that could be worth close to £1 billion.

Why AI is the new IT
Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • The UK government is working on funding 8,000 specialist computer science teachers and 1,000 AI PhDs by the year 2025.
  • 50+ tech companies and organizations have contributed to the UK's AI Sector Deal that is worth roughly $1.4 billion.

In order to establish the UK as an artificial intelligence (AI) "research hotspot," the government is using money from its new AI Sector Deal to fund 1,000 AI PhDs and 8,000 specialist computer science teachers by 2025.

Including contributions from more than 50 tech companies and other organizations, the AI Sector Deal will be worth some £1 billion ($1.4 billion), and includes £300 million of new private sector investment, according to a Thursday press release. The investment is primarily focused on AI research.

"By boosting AI skills and data driven technologies we will make sure that we continue to build a Britain that is shaping the future," Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Matt Hancock said in the press release.

SEE: IT leader's guide to the future of artificial intelligence (Tech Pro Research)

Part of the goal is to make sure every secondary school has a qualified computer science teacher to educate students with the tech skills they'll need in the future. Additionally, the accountancy firm Sage will be running an AI pilot program for 150 young people in the UK as part of the deal, the release said.

The deal follows a host of other investments in the space, including the government's modern Industrial Strategy and its AI Grand Challenge.

Of the new AI deal's funds, £20 million will go to help law and insurance industries adopt AI. An additional £21 will be used to create Tech Nation, a "UK-wide organisation working across the country to create a high-growth tech network for ambitious entrepreneurs," the release said.

A new Centre for Data Ethics, which will cost £9 million, is also a part of the AI deal. As one can infer from the name, the center will focus on how companies can safely and ethically innovate with technologies such as AI.

"Artificial Intelligence is at the centre of our plans to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business," Hancock said in the release. "We have a great track record and are home to some of the world's biggest names in AI like Deepmind, Swiftkey and Babylon, but there is so much more we can do."

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