The UK government has set aside an investment of £13 million to further the research of artificial intelligence (AI) in the healthcare sector.
Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan announced the investment, which comes at the same time as the naming of two prominent experts responsible for overseeing preparations for the first significant global summit focusing on AI's ethical utilisation.
A total of 22 projects across UK universities and NHS trusts will benefit from this funding. The subjects of these projects will cover areas such as semi-automated surgical robotics for tumour extraction to health forecasts based on pre-existing conditions.
University College London's Centre for Interventional and Surgical Sciences is one of the significant beneficiaries of this scheme, gaining over £500,000. The project's goal is to create a real-time AI-assisted decision support structure to improve surgical results, decrease post-surgical complications, and shorten recovery periods for patients.
Michelle Donelan stated, "AI is set to transform our lives, including our health services. By supporting UK's incredible innovators, we aim to enhance the NHS front line and address our era's critical health challenges."
Health Secretary Steve Barclay supported this initiative, noting, "AI has the potential to help the NHS enhance patient outcomes through earlier diagnosis, more efficient treatments, and expedited recovery. It's already making a difference in areas such as diagnosing and treating strokes and identifying those at high risk of heart attacks. This new funding further strengthens the UK's position in healthcare research."
This financial support falls under the UKRI (UK Research and Innovation) Technology Missions Fund as outlined in the Science and Technology Framework. Furthermore, a milestone summit on AI is planned in the UK later this year, where world leaders, tech companies, and scholars will gather to deliberate on AI's sensible implementation.
Matt Clifford, CEO of Entrepreneur First, and chair of the Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA), along with Jonathan Black, Heywood Fellow at the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University, have been selected to lead the global collaboration efforts among AI leaders and experts.
They will act as the prime minister's representatives, working to ensure the summit produces a thorough strategy to minimise the possible dangers of AI. Mr Clifford will take up his role as the PM's representative independently from his position as the ARIA's chair.
Donelan also added, "With its history of diplomatic leadership, the UK is excellently positioned to pave the way for talks on secure and responsible AI this year. This summit will reinforce our standing as a hub of secure innovation."
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly expressed, "AI will change every facet of human existence. As it progresses quickly, a worldwide approach is needed to capture its opportunities while understanding its challenges and limiting its risks. With the guidance of our two expert representatives, the UK is honoured to lead the international effort to navigate AI's future challenges and possibilities."
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