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Artificial Intelligence

Volume 653: debated on Thursday 31 January 2019

10. What steps his Department is taking to ensure that the UK remains a world leader in the field of artificial intelligence. (908938)

The UK is a world leader in AI. Our AI and data grand challenge, as part of the industrial strategy, is a major collaboration, with up to £950 million of industry and government funding driving measures for innovation, and attracting and retaining global talent to maintain our position as a global leader in AI.

Order. We have overrun, because I am keen to accommodate colleagues, but I know that the hon. Member for Walsall North (Eddie Hughes) will confine himself to a pithy sentence.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. What assurance can the Minister give me that work to develop AI is being co-ordinated across not just government, but the whole public sector?

We have established an Office for Artificial Intelligence across the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Its job is to encourage strong dialogue between Departments and the wider public sector, including academia. For example, The Alan Turing Institute’s specialist public sector AI unit is involved in this process.

Staffordshire University has one of the best AI robotics courses in the country. What role does the Minister see the universities that are training the AI robotics engineers of the future playing in ensuring that the AI technology of today is working?

I congratulate the university in the hon. Gentleman’s constituency on its great work. The Government have invested £50 million in AI fellowships and £100 million in 1,000 new PhD places, of which I hope his local institution will be able to take advantage.