Mayor of London launches project to make capital epicentre of AI

Mayor of London launches project to make capital epicentre of AI

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has commissioned AI research and thought leadership organisation CognitionX to develop “a strong evidence base” to support a new London policy on artificial intelligence.

The aim is to raise the profile of AI in the city, focusing on its economic and social benefits.

The report will identify the actions that the Mayor can take to maximise the positive impact of AI on London’s economy, said a joint announcement from the Mayor and CognitionX today.

The company will evaluate opportunities for stimulating adoption and deployment of AI technologies, attracting entrepreneurs and businesses to London – and retaining them – as well as removing barriers to uptake and supporting growth.

The news comes in the wake of a number of reports that reveal the UK to be lagging behind its major competitors in the adoption of new technologies, including AI, robotics, and Internet of Things programmes.

Read more: Dell: UK lagging well behind Europe on IoT, AI, digital

Read more: South Korea most automated nation on earth, says report. The UK? Going nowhere

New initiatives

In February, the British government opened a new Office for AI, in line with its plan to put AI, robotics, and autonomous systems at the heart of the new Industrial Strategy.

However, earlier this month, the UK job market was revealed to be overly focused on sales and marketing in digital technologies, with too few opportunities for qualified research, development, and engineering professionals.

That report found that London is overwhelmingly the centre of Industry 4.0 developments. Now the Mayor is encouraging those AI companies in the capital to participate in the London study. 

Sadiq Khan, said: “This report will help to uncover the opportunities to unlock innovation and investment in London, in order to maximise the economic impact of AI on the city. It will also identify the challenges we face in positioning the capital as the best place to start, grow, or relocate an AI business.

“Artificial Intelligence has the potential to transform almost every industry across the capital. London is in a strong position in the data economy and is already home to innovative, fast-growing companies like DeepMind, CityMapper, and Satalia.

“Not to mention the kind of work being done to improve public services, such as the data-driven approach to understanding rent arrears emerging through Hackney Council’s partnership with Pivigo.

“London has a tremendous opportunity to build a world-class AI hub, which serves a range of industries – from healthcare to finance to law – and which also helps build the AI-driven economy of the future in a way that works for all Londoners.”

How to get involved

Tabitha Goldstaub, co-founder of CognitionX, said: “For companies leveraging AI, now is the time to shine. We’re calling on firms of all sizes to tell us about the AI solutions they have been developing or using. It’s as simple as entering your details here and we’ll be in touch.

“By sharing information about the AI deployments you have made, you’ll be added to the report which will be presented on a global scale at CogX – The Festival of All Things AI on the 11 and 12 June.

“The information gathered will be presented on CognitionX’s platform and on the Mayor’s portal, as well as downloadable as a raw file for others to use. I have no doubt that together we will continue to make London a great place for AI innovation.”

Charlie Muirhead, founder and CEO, CognitionX added: “We all need to understand what AI is, what is isn’t, and how we can benefit.

“At CognitionX, we are on a mission to democratise access to information on AI, and this report is an important part of CognitionX’s commitment to being the most trusted source of advice on all things AI.

“All successful organisations will need to take advantage of artificial intelligence, but it is a complex, fragmented, and ever-changing domain, and we want to help ensure a responsible transition to an AI-driven society.”

Internet of Business says

With central government’s welcome focus on AI, digital, and robotics, along with the new office for AI, and the new Sector Deals on AI and other technologies, this latest move in the capital itself reveals that the UK is finally putting its house in order.

We welcome Sadiq Khan’s ambitious initiative for London.

However, a major challenge remains outstanding. London and the South are already the epicentre of the UK’s technology sector, thanks to innovation hubs such as Tech City / Silicon Roundabout, and the presence of large consultancies, systems integrators, and vendors, both in the capital and to the west of it in the Heathrow corridor.

The urgent need is to spread the benefits out across the whole of the UK, so that all organisations and communities can benefit from a boom market. Let’s hope that other cities and local authorities follow Khan’s lead.