Flying the flag for British technology

Flying the flag for British technology
Flying the flag for British technology

Alan Turing Institute leads UK initiative to shape global AI standards

Posted on 13th January 2022 by TechBritannia Staff

The Alan Turing Institute, supported by the British Standards Institution and the National Physical Laboratory, will pilot a new UK government initiative to lead in shaping global technical standards for Artificial Intelligence (AI).

  • The Alan Turing Institute selected to lead pilot of a new AI Standards Hub supported by the British Standards Institution and National Physical Laboratory
  • Hub is part of the National AI Strategy and will aim to increase UK contribution to development of global AI technical standards 
  • Comes as new research finds more than 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

The new AI Standard 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. This will help put the UK at the forefront of this rapidly developing area.

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

BSI, the UK National Standards Body, and NPL, the country’s national metrology institute, will share their world-class 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 DCMS and the Office for AI (OAI). 

The move kicks off one part of the UK’s new National AI Strategy, a ten-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”.

DCMS Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy Chris Philp commented:

“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.”

Today’s announcement, according to Philp “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.”

New research published today predicts that the use of AI by businesses will more than double in the next twenty years, with more than 1.3 million UK businesses using artificial intelligence by 2040. 

It shows that in 2020, UK businesses spent around £63 billion on AI technology and AI related-labour and this is expected to reach more than £200 billion by 2040. 

The UK is already successful in this field. 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 rocketed from $120 million to more than $3.4 billion in 2020.   

Initially the new hub will focus on: 

  • Growing UK engagement to develop global AI standards by bringing together information about technical standards and development initiatives in an accessible, user-friendly and inclusive way.

  • Bringing the AI community together through workshops, events and a new online platform to encourage more coordinated engagement in the development of standards around the world. 

  • Creating tools and guidance for education, training and professional development to help businesses and other organisations engage with creating AI technical standards, and collaborate globally to develop these standards.

  • Exploring international collaboration with similar initiatives to ensure the development of technical standards are shaped by a wide range of AI experts, in line with shared values.

Adrian Smith, Director and Chief Executive of The Alan Turing Institute said, 

“International standards are set to play an increasingly crucial enabling role in the adoption and effective governance of AI technologies. Given our place at the heart of the UK’s thriving AI ecosystem, I am delighted to see the Turing identified as the home of this important new initiative.” 

The move follows the launch of the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation’s (CDEI) ‘roadmap to an effective AI assurance ecosystem’, which is also part of the National AI Strategy. The roadmap sets out the steps needed to develop world-leading products and services to verify AI systems and accelerate AI adoption. 

Image credit: Duane Wessels


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