UK Funds Generative AI Task Force

Prime Minister Sunak's new group to look into foundation models to keep the U.K. competitive

Ben Wodecki, Jr. Editor

April 24, 2023

2 Min Read
David Mark/Pixabay

At a Glance

  • The U.K. government will form a task force to look into purchasing access to foundation models.
  • Prime Minister Sunak wants AI to grow the economy with initial pilot projects focusing on innovating public services.

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak unveiled plans today to set up an expert task force to look into foundation models.

The newly created group will explore foundation models, including large language models and related applications, such as ChatGPT and Google Bard. It will be tasked with ensuring these models have full national control and are adopted safely.

The Foundation Model Taskforce will be given £100 million ($125 million) to spend on foundation model infrastructure and public service procurement to “create opportunities for domestic innovation.”

The first pilots created under the task force will focus on public services and are expected to launch in the next six months.

“Harnessing the potential of AI provides enormous opportunities to grow our economy, create better-paid jobs, and build a better future through advances in health care and security,” Sunak said at Business Connect, a new conference his office launched to showcase U.K. innovation.

The announcement of the task force references that AI is predicted to raise global GDP by 7% over a decade, saying it is “a vital opportunity to grow the U.K. economy.”

Growing the UK economy

The government said the announcement aligns with the prime minister’s vision of using technology to help grow the country’s economy, with Britain the G7 nation with the slowest growth at present. Sunak has continually sought to position the U.K. as a tech hub, even personally trying but failing to convince British chipmaker Arm to list its IPO in London.

“By investing in emerging technologies through our new expert taskforce, we can continue to lead the way in developing safe and trustworthy AI as part of shaping a more innovative U.K. economy,” Sunak said.

The task force will be led by an expert chair, who will be announced later in the summer. In the meantime, Matt Clifford, chair of the U.K.'s Advanced Research and Innovation Agency, will advise the prime minister as well as the technology secretary on the development of the task force.

The $125 million adds to the $1 billion from the government’s Spring budget announced back in March, which also included plans to fund a new national exascale supercomputer.

The government itself is already trialing large language models, according to Downing Street’s data science director, who said back in March that top individuals inside the government have been keen to test and deploy AI and large language models in the wake of the ChatGPT craze.

The move to encourage model usage comes after the U.K. government published a white paper that effectively leaves it up to the regulators to come up with rules on AI adoption, opting for a ‘light touch’ approach.

Read more about:

ChatGPT / Generative AI

About the Author(s)

Ben Wodecki

Jr. Editor

Ben Wodecki is the Jr. Editor of AI Business, covering a wide range of AI content. Ben joined the team in March 2021 as assistant editor and was promoted to Jr. Editor. He has written for The New Statesman, Intellectual Property Magazine, and The Telegraph India, among others. He holds an MSc in Digital Journalism from Middlesex University.

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