Britain pumps cash into artificial intelligence before Brexit

Britain's Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Greg Clark. (Reuters)
Updated 26 April 2018
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Britain pumps cash into artificial intelligence before Brexit

  • The UK will announce a £1 billion joint investment in the artificial intelligence industry
  • It’s evident that Britain is a place that people want to come to for AI: business minister

LONDON: Britain announced on Thursday a £1 billion ($1.4 billion) joint investment in the artificial intelligence (AI) industry to capitalize on what the government sees as a competitive advantage in the sector as it prepares for life after Brexit.
The deal is the latest in a series of targeted public-private investment pacts in the government’s industrial strategy that aims to modernize Britain’s economy and address decades of regional and industrial decline.
“It’s evident that Britain is a place that people want to come to for AI,” business minister Greg Clark told Reuters during a visit to a facility in London that nurtures early-stage tech businesses from across the world.
“We have a position of strength that we want to capitalize on because if we don’t build on it the other countries around the world would steal a march.”
Governments worldwide are plowing cash AI to keep up with international rivals and seeking to harness its power to transform industries from transport to agriculture.
The European Union said on Wednesday it would boost AI investment by about 70 percent to €1.5 billion ($1.8 billion) by 2020 to catch up with Asia and the United States, which are each investing at least three times more than Europe.
Despite offering less investment, ministers said Britain had advantages because it had established research capabilities, boasted a global financial center in London and hosted the headquarters of many major firms.
“The cross-fertilization that is at the core of the impact of artificial intelligence can happen here more easily than elsewhere,” digital, culture, media and sport minister Matt Hancock told Reuters.
The government said the AI industry could generate £232 billion for the British economy by 2030.
Britain’s industrial strategy is a flagship project for Prime Minister Theresa May, but critics say it lacks detail and any measurable progress since it was launched two years ago.
The strategy has focused on areas such as high-tech manufacturing, AI, cars and battery technology to help rebalance a services-based economy with declining traditional industries.
The investment announced on Thursday includes nearly £300 million of private investment in projects such as a University of Cambridge AI supercomputer, and cash spent on European bases in Britain for Japanese and Canadian venture capital firms.
Those funds will be matched by more than £300 million of public funding, on top of an existing £400 million budget. The funds will be spent on teacher training, research and developing regional technology hubs to explore how AI can be used in industries such as law and insurance.
A Center for Data Ethics and Innovation, look at ensuring the safe development of data driven technologies and ways to protect consumers, will also be set up.


Iraq’s Basra Oil, Chevron agree to implement MOU to develop oil fields

Updated 19 August 2018
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Iraq’s Basra Oil, Chevron agree to implement MOU to develop oil fields

  • Executives from the two companies have signed an agreement which outlines a program to develop the fields
  • The MOU provides for Chevron to conduct surveys and studies on oil sites and installations

DUBAI: Iraq’s state-run Basra Oil Company and Chevron agreed to begin implementing a memorandum of understanding to develop fields in the south of the country, the Iraqi oil ministry said on Sunday.
Executives from the two companies have signed an agreement which outlines a program to develop the fields, which includes studies to survey the reservoirs and extraction operations, said a statement posted on the oil ministry’s website.
Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar Al-Luaibi announced in June that Basra Oil and another state-run company, Dhi Qar Oil, signed an MOU with Chevron.
The MOU provides for Chevron to conduct surveys and studies on oil sites and installations and help the two Iraqi companies to improve their technical, administrative and financial performance.