Theresa May Pledges AI as Priority for Post-Brexit Industrial Strategy

Theresa May Pledges AI as Priority for Post-Brexit Industrial Strategy

January 25, 2017

4 Min Read

Despite whether you are pleased with the result of the post-Brexit strategy or not, there is good news for the tech enthusiasts (and others looking to enter the world of AI), in the UK. Theresa May is placing artificial intelligence, 5G wireless Internet, smart energy technology and robotics on the agenda for the post-Brexit industrial strategy.

According to Business Insider, Theresa May is now set to launch the government’s “Modern Industrial Strategy” on Monday during the regional meeting of the cabinet in the North West. During an announcement made Sunday evening, the Prime Minister confirmed that the strategy will be centered around ten key strategic pillars, where the first in line is “Investing in science, research and innovation”.

“The release says that the £4.7 billion increase in research & development (R&D) funding announced in last year’s Autumn Statement is central to the new industrial strategy”, Business Insider writes.

The investment is earmarked for areas involving AI and robotics, which are the only specific industries name checked in the release. According to Greg Clark, Business and Energy Secretary, the new Modern Industrial Strategy will “improve living standards and drive economic growth across the whole country”.

The desired outcome for the government appears to be to secure Britain against the impact that automation can potentially have on the workforce.

The focus should rather be on turning British citizens into a nation of highly skilled technical workers, able to enable this new technology, rather than replacing them with the technology itself.

Theresa May said in a release announcing the new “Institutes of Technology”: “Our modern Industrial Strategy is a critical part of our plan for post-Brexit Britain.

“As we leave the EU it will help us grasp the bigger prize: the chance to build that stronger, fairer Britain that stands tall in the world and is set up to succeed in the long-term. And it is a vital step towards building a country where prosperity is shared and there is genuine opportunity for all.”

Here are the government’s ten strategic pillars for its new industrial strategy in full:

  1. Investing in science, research and innovation — We must become a more innovative economy and do more to commercialise our world leading science base to drive growth across the UK.

  2. Developing skills — We must help people and businesses to thrive by: ensuring everyone has the basic skills needed in a modern economy; building a new system of technical education to benefit the half of young people who do not go to university; boosting STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) skills, digital skills and numeracy; and by raising skill levels in lagging areas.

  3. Upgrading infrastructure — We must upgrade our standards of performance on digital, energy, transport, water and flood defence infrastructure, and better align central government infrastructure investment with local growth priorities.

  4. Supporting businesses to start and grow — We must ensure that businesses across the UK can access the finance and management skills they need to grow; and we must create the right conditions for companies to invest for the long term.

  5. Improving procurement — We must use strategic government procurement to drive innovation and enable the development of UK supply chains;

  6. Encouraging trade and inward investment policy — Government policy can help boost productivity and growth across our economy, including by increasing competition and helping to bring new ways of doing things to the UK.

  7. Delivering affordable energy and clean growth — We need to keep costs down for businesses, and secure the economic benefits of the transition to a low-carbon economy.

  8. Cultivating world-leading sectors — We must build on our areas of competitive advantage, and help new sectors to flourish, in many cases challenging existing institutions and incumbents;

  9. Driving growth across the whole country — We will create a framework to build on the particular strengths of different places and address factors that hold places back — whether it is investing in key infrastructure projects to encourage growth, increasing skill levels, or backing local innovation strengths.

  10. Creating the right institutions to bring together sectors and places — We will consider the best structures to support people, industries and places. In some places and sectors there may be missing institutions which we could create, or existing ones we could strengthen, be they local civic or educational institutions, trade associations or financial networks.

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