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Artificial Intelligence: Business

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN HL17498, tabled on 24 July 2019

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to encourage more UK companies to automate decision-making through artificial intelligence technology.

Answered on

2 August 2019

Artificial intelligence and automation present enormous opportunities for our economy. Some studies suggest that artificial intelligence could add 10% to the UK GDP by 2030. Other studies highlight the benefits that artificial intelligence and automation could bring to specific sectors.

For example, the independent “Made Smarter” review, published in October 2017, estimated that digital technologies, such as robotics, artificial intelligence, and additive manufacturing, could add £455bn to the UK manufacturing economy over the next decade.

For that reason, under our modern Industrial Strategy, we have taken the following steps to support automation where and when it is appropriate and is for the betterment of society:

  • £558m of the £1.7bn Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund is related to automation;
  • Investment across UKRI partners for robotics, autonomous systems and AI for physical systems since 2014 totals £366m and has attracted a further £153m leverage from private sector or other public bodies;
  • The AI Sector Deal, published in April 2018, is worth up to£950m and is already delivering pioneering skills and data initiatives to create the jobs and markets of tomorrow;
  • Government is backing Made Smarter as our key industrial digitalisation programme, including through up to £121m investment into the Made Smarter digital manufacturing challenge to increase manufacturing productivity by up to 30%;
    • In addition, Government is investing £20m into the Made Smarter North West pilot for adoption of digital technology, which includes robotics and automation;
    • Growth Hubs provide an important one stop shop for businesses seeking to improve their productivity. The £20m Made Smarter North-West Pilots will engage 3,000 SME manufacturers across the north west to improve their productivity, administered through Growth Hubs; and
  • The UK’s Catapult network helps bridge the gap between businesses and the expertise of the UK’s world-class research in automation. In August 2018, Government committed a further £780m over the next 5 years, which will be match funded with over £1.5bn in industry R&D.