LONDON – Mayor of London Sadiq Kahn warned Monday that Brexit is stopping the UK preparing properly for technological change. He focused on AI in particular. Mr. Kahn urged the next UK Prime Minister to pay attention to AI and help build public understanding and trust in it.
Brexit Holding AI in Britain Back
Speaking at the start of London Tech Week, Mr. Kahn said:
There’s no doubt that as a country we should be much further ahead than we are now – not only in terms of making sure we can make the most of what AI has to offer, but in terms of educating the public, encouraging public debate and preparing for the potential impact on our society.
He was clear that the government’s focus on Brexit had held Britain back in this record. “Unfortunately – like with so many other issues in recent years – Brexit seems to have resulted in the government side-lining preparations for the potential impact of AI on our society, draining central government resource and attention away from one of the most important debates of the day,” he said. He urged the next Prime Minister “to give AI the attention it deserves.”
PM Announces Major Tech Investment
Outgoing UK Prime Minister Theresa May also addressed London Tech Week. She announced over £1.2. billion of investment into the tech sector.
“British Tech is growing over one and a half times faster than the rest of the economy, adding more than one hundred and thirty billion pounds to our economy every year,” she said, “but if we are going to maintain our position as a global leader, our challenge is how we develop British Tech and make it even better. We want this to be the place everyone thinks of – and comes to – first when they want to develop their world-changing tech ideas.”
This is “a challenge shared between industry and Government,” the Prime Minister said. She also hosted a roundtable of tech firms including Microsoft UK, Google, and Monzo.