Government has spent £2.5bn on AI in past decade

Minister reveals expenditure of about a quarter of a billion pounds a year since 2014, with more investment planned for the coming years following the publication of a new strategy

The government has spent more than £2.5bn on artificial intelligence systems in the past decade, according to research and innovation minister Andrew Griffith.

Earlier this year, the government’s Science and Technology Framework set out an ambition to take “a systems approach” to further the UK’s progress in five areas identified as “critical technologies”.

AI was included on this list, alongside quantum tech, engineering biology, semiconductors, and future telecoms systems.

Griffith, whose role sits within the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, was asked in a written parliamentary question from former health secretary Matt Hancock about government’s planned spending across all departments in each of the five areas during the fiscal year that will begin in April.

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“The government set out five critical technologies in the Science and Technology Framework, committing to develop a cross-government plan to optimise the science and technology system for each,” Griffith responded. “We have publicly set out our approach to each critical technology, including spending commitments, which for most technologies cover figures for all departments. The government has spent over £2.5bn on AI since 2014. Over the next 10 years we have announced £2.5bn for quantum technologies, up to £1bn on semiconductors and £2bn for engineering biology. The government has initially committed £70m on Future Telecoms by end of FY 2024/2025.”

Earlier in his career, Hancock himself served as the digital minister in the then Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Having been elected as a Conservative, he has sat as an independent member since being suspended as a Tory MP following his appearance last year on the reality television show I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!

Sam Trendall

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