UK government £100m spend for AI chips may not be enough, experts warn
The UK government has been warned that its plans to invest £100m in AI computer chips AI may not be enough to strengthen its position within the global AI arms race.
Rishi Sunak’s government revealed funds sourced through taxpayer money will be made available towards building a national AI resource in Britain, tapping major chipmaking companies such as Intel, AMD and Nvidia – the latter which has most recently announced plans to rent-out its supercomputers to boost AI technologies.
The Government revealed in a press release that it is already in advanced stages of ordering up to 5,000 graphics processing units (GPUs) from Nvidia, but according to an official who was briefed on the plans, £100m investment is relatively low in comparison to investments by the US, EU and China.
Both the US and the EU have already passed multi-billion plans, investing more than $52 billion and €43 billion respectively, making UK’s 100m spend seem fairly insignificant.
Steven Mooney, CEO of FundMyPitch, praised the government for investing in the sector but also warned that “not enough is being done to support the UK’s home grown tech talent, with far too many ambitious entrepreneurs and innovators struggling to obtain funding, despite producing industry-leading products.”
Fears that the Government’s action may prove too little, too late are rising in both industry and Whitehall as the UK currently only accounts for around 0.5% of semiconductor sales globally.
In May, Sunak’s government revealed plans to invest £1 billion over the next decade in semiconductor research, design and production, but was a step overshadowed by the US’s Chips Act, and EU subsidies.
The relatively weak investment could stunt progress and potentially leave the UK exposed amid increasing geopolitical tensions over AI chip tech development.
However, Sunak’s focus on regulation has sought to viewing the UK as the potential bridge between US and China following the White House’s ban on US investments in advanced Chinese semiconductors earlier this month.
The investment may also be seem as a positive step from trade association Tech UK who has long called for chip investment in the UK.
To further strengthen the UK’s position on AI, the government is set to hold an AI summit this autumn to help establish shared standards and regulation.
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