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UK Investment Boost for AI in Healthcare

UK Prepares for AI Safety Summit with Fresh £13m for Healthcare Research

The UK is set to hold its inaugural international summit focusing on the safe use of artificial intelligence later this year.

This announcement closely follows the appointment of Matt Clifford, CEO of Entrepreneur First and Chair of the Advanced Research and Invention Agency, and Jonathan Black, Heywood Fellow at the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford, to lead preparations.

These two experts will be responsible for rallying AI leaders, technology companies, and experts in the lead-up to the event.

Although it’s the first event of its kind, the summit is expected to address the challenges posed by AI, particularly at the cutting edge of its development. It will provide a stage for countries to collaboratively develop a strategy for risk mitigation.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had previously indicated the nation’s ambition to be both the intellectual and geographical centre for AI regulation.

However, Matt Clifford emphasised that this initiative isn’t about pushing a UK-centric approach but to “agree on a shared understanding of the risks” and develop solutions together.

£13m Investment Boost for AI in Healthcare

Coinciding with the summit preparations, Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan announced a £13 million investment to further AI research in healthcare.

This substantial grant aims to fund 22 varied projects across UK universities and NHS trusts.

The projects encompass a range of applications – from semi-autonomous robotics for tumour surgeries to algorithms that can predict future health challenges based on a patient’s current conditions.

One significant recipient of the fund is University College London’s Centre for Interventional and Surgical Sciences, which has been allocated over £500,000. The centre’s goal is to create a real-time AI tool that can enhance surgical results and speed up patient recovery.

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AI’s Role in the NHS and Broader Healthcare

Health Secretary Steve Barclay voiced his support for AI’s transformative potential in the NHS.

With innovations leading to earlier diagnoses and more efficient treatments, AI is already aiding in areas such as stroke patient care and heart attack risk identification.

This funding, Barclay notes, will further position the UK as a front-runner in healthcare research.

However, the safety and ethical considerations of these rapid advancements cannot be neglected, which underscores the significance of the upcoming AI summit.

A Global Approach to AI

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly highlighted the sweeping impacts of AI, stating it will “fundamentally alter every aspect of human life”.

With the rapid pace of AI evolution, a coordinated global approach becomes imperative. As Cleverly puts it, the challenges and opportunities presented by AI will affect every nation.

Therefore, through the summit and the guidance of experts like Clifford and Black, the UK aims to be at the forefront of these pivotal international discussions.

The Bigger Picture

This summit and the announced funding are part of a broader UK strategy. The UK already boasts a vibrant AI sector, contributing £3.7 billion to the economy and providing jobs for 50,000 people.

Positioned third globally in AI after the US and China, the UK is well-poised to lead these vital conversations.

Earlier this year, the UK committed to spending £900 million on developing compute capacity, including introducing an exascale supercomputer. The government has also backed the next generation of safe AI with a dedicated £100 million.

Set for the 1st and 2nd of November, the AI Safety Summit underscores the UK’s commitment to addressing AI challenges and harnessing its potential, both nationally and internationally.

Rebecca Taylor

Rebecca is our AI news writer. A graduate of Leeds University with an International Journalism MA, she possesses a keen eye for the latest AI developments. Rebecca’s passion for AI, and with her journalistic expertise, brings insightful news stories for our readers.

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