Sunak plans to attract 100 AI whizz-kids to UK

Prime minster announces tells conference that the UK ‘cannot allow the world’s top talent to be drawn to America or China’

Credit: Crown Copyright/Open Government Licence v3.0

Rishi Sunak has announced a government plan to seek out the world’s top 100 young talents in the field of artificial intelligence and attract them to the UK.

In a speech given this week to the annual conference of the Confederation of British Industry, the prime minister said that he had earmarked AI as “one of the areas where we need to be most ambitious”.

“Because this isn’t just another new technology,” he added. “It’s a general-purpose technology – like the invention of the steam engine and the computer chip – with the potential to transform every aspect of our lives.”

To ensure that the UK can emerge as a world leader in this field, the country “cannot allow the world’s top AI talent to be drawn to America or China”.

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To ensure that this talent, instead, ends up in the UK, the PM announced that “we are launching a programme to identify and attract the world’s top 100 young talents on AI”.

“[This is] less ‘build it and they will come and more ‘let them come and they will build it’,” he added.

No further details were provided on the programme, but Sunak claimed the scheme would build on “AI scholarships and masters conversion courses” that he himself had launched during his time as chancellor of the exchequer. 

The plans to lure leading AI talent will be a key strand of wider plans to bring the world’s most-skilled technology professionals to this country, the PM told business leaders.

“To make this country a true island of innovation, we also need to attract the best and brightest from around the world,” he said. “So, we will unapologetically create one of the world’s most attractive visa regimes for entrepreneurs and highly skilled people.”


Sam Trendall

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