Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Introducing the UK’s Artificial Intelligence Research Centre

July 19, 2018

Artificial intelligence (AI), a phenomenon that has been developing for years, is now reaching a tipping point. With vast improvements in techniques such as deep learning, and growth in available data and computer processing power, AI is entering a crucial stage in its development and adoption.

A stage that brings vast opportunities, with the UK government estimating that AI could add an incredible £630bn to the UK economy by 2035. But this stage also has risks and challenges, and how the UK chooses to respond to these will be pivotal in ensuring it remains a global leader in this crucial technology area.

To ensure the UK truly embraces the opportunities and accelerates innovation in AI, I’m excited to announce today that we are partnering with UCL – a leading university in AI, machine learning (ML) and computer science – to create an Artificial Intelligence Research Centre. A hub for UK innovation in AI which will improve skills development within the AI and ML sectors, bringing together the best talent in this area to tackle real global challenges.

The centre, which will be based on the UCL campus in central London, is aligned to the Government’s Industrial Strategy and its subsequent Sector Deal for AI. The centre will also further strengthen the longstanding partnership between Cisco and UCL.

Our 30-year collaboration with UCL demonstrates the power of partnerships to not only help nurture the talent of tomorrow, but also help solve some of the world’s biggest challenges. For the past 5 years we have partnered with UCL on IDEALondon, a leading post-accelerator centre for scale-up businesses in the heart of London’s Tech City. Our partnership does not end there; over 100 UCL students have become Cisco interns too, with some becoming the next generation of innovators in our workforce.

When doors open later this year, the centre will become one of the largest AI centres around the world – housing between 200-250 people. This will include AI Master students and professors with the shared aim of making the world a better place by using AI to support efforts in healthcare, drug discovery and transport, to name but a few.

To make the centre a reality, Cisco has committed to bring a range of technical expertise, resources, research, funding, and a support programme for start-ups.

Today’s announcement is the latest example of our ongoing commitment to support digitisation in the UK. Our Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) strategy is a long-term partnership with government, industry and academia to help deliver real outcomes faster and more effectively for the nation.

In the last decade, we have committed over $1.5bn in digital and innovation investments and projects in the UK. And today, as part of the announcement of AI Research Centre, we are committing further $100m to help accelerate digital innovation across the nation.

With PwC predicting that AI technology will contribute as much as $15.7 trillion – that’s trillion – to the global economy by 2030, and Deloitte reporting that by 2020 almost 9 in 10 businesses will be making their own AI investments, the opportunity for the UK is immense and one it cannot be left behind on.

The UK currently enjoys a position as one of the best countries in the world in which to develop artificial intelligence, but it is fundamental that we do not take this for granted.

With the creation of the AI Research Centre, we believe the UK can lead by example in international community, shaping the development and use of AI worldwide, to ensure its potential and benefits are felt by all.

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