Projects in the UK developing “safe and trustworthy” artificial intelligence (AI) are set to be granted millions in public funding, according to an announcement at London Tech Week (14 June).

The announced £50m will reportedly go to a range of AI safety projects, as well as towards helping businesses effectively adopt and use the emerging tech. 

Most of the £50m, which will be invested by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), will be going to the University of Southampton group, Responsible AI. 

Responsible AI aims to ensure that future models benefit society as much as possible while navigating any potential threats.

The Southampton-based group will receive £31m of the total funding. 

Gopal Ramchurn, project lead at Responsible AI, said that most AI is being tested in “well-defined settings”, which means that many things could still go wrong when released to the wider world. 

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By GlobalData

Ramchurn said: “Trustworthy AI tends to be looked at from a very technical perspective.”

Some of the money will be put towards a further 13 projects with the aim of reaching net zero through the use of AI. 

The announcement comes after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told technology leaders at London Tech Week that he wants the UK to be the global centre for AI.

 “Already we’ve seen AI help the paralysed to walk and discover superbug-killing antibiotics – and that’s just the beginning,” Sunak said on Monday (June 12).

Adding: “The possibilities are extraordinary. But we must – and we will – do it safely.”

The PM urged industry heads that he wanted the UK to become the “geographical home of global AI safety regulation”.

“We must act, and act quickly, if we want not only to retain our position as one of the world’s tech capitals but to go even further and make this the best country in the world to start, grow and invest in tech businesses,” Sunak said.

GlobalData is the parent company of Verdict and its sister publications.