Healthcare workers on AI research

Government appointments ahead of AI summit

The UK government has announced the appointment of two leading experts to help with the preparations for the nation’s hosting of the first major AI safety summit of its kind.

Matt Clifford, Chair of the Advanced Research and Innovation Agency, and Jonathan Black, former UK G7 and G20 Sherpa and Deputy National Security Advisor, will take on the role of bringing together leading AI nations, companies, and experts ahead of the summit in Autumn. The two experts will also represent the Prime Minister and ensure that the outcome of the summit is one of a shared approach to mitigating the risks of AI.

Michelle Donelan, Technology Secretary, said:

“The UK has a proud history of demonstrating democratic leadership on the most important issues of the day and Mat and Jonathan’s experience and expertise means that they are perfectly placed to lay the groundwork ahead of talks this year on safe and responsible AI.

“We’re already a leading nation when it comes to artificial intelligence – and this summit will help cement our position as the home of safe innovation.

“By leading on the international stage, we will improve lives at home. AI will revolutionise the way we live, including our healthcare system. That’s why we’re backing the UK’s fantastic innovators to save lives by boosting the frontline of our NHS and tackling the major health challenges of our time.”

Considering the risks of AI, the summit will discuss how internationally coordinated action can bring better outcomes, allowing nations around the world to work together in developing a shared approach to risk mitigation. The UK is in the right place to help lead the conversation around the future of AI, with it ranking third in the world in artificial intelligence behind the USA and China. The sector as a whole brings £3.7 billion into the economy and currently employs 50,000 people around the nation.

Alongside this, the UK was one of the first counties to establish a blueprint for the safe and responsible deployment of the technology.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said:

“Artificial intelligence will fundamentally alter every aspect of human life. As AI rapidly evolves, we need a global approach that seizes the opportunities that AI poses while grasping the challenges and minimising the risks.

“No country will be untouched by AI, so with the support of our two expert representatives, the UK is proud to play a leadership role in the global effort to address the challenges and opportunities of AI.”

The announcement of the two appointments also comes alongside news of new £13 million funding to help deliver cutting-edge AI innovation in the healthcare sector. This will see 22 university and NHS trust projects being allocated a share of the funding to support a variety of schemes. Projects being funded range from the development of a robotics platform that can help with the removal of tumours, to technology that can predict the likelihood of future health problems within a person based on their current health conditions.

Steve Barclay. Health and Social Care Secretary, said:

“AI can help the NHS improve outcomes for patients, with breakthroughs leading to earlier diagnosis, more effective treatments, and faster recovery. It’s already being used in the NHS in a number of areas, from improving diagnosis and treatment for stroke patients to identifying those most at risk of a heart attack.

“This funding is yet another boost to help the UK lead the way in healthcare research. It comes on top of the £21 million we recently announced for trusts to roll out the latest AI diagnostic tools and £123 million invested in 86 promising tech through our AI on Health and Care Awards.”


Image credit: iStock

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