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Microsoft believes that the UK can be a "game changer" for AI

A new report from Microsoft states that the United Kingdom has the right combination of ingredients to be a clear "game changer" for the artificial intelligence industry.

The United Kingdom has established itself as a leader in artificial intelligence with its renowned universities that generate talent and stimulate internationally recognized companies such as DeepMind, which was acquired by Google for 400 million.

In the report, Microsoft wrote:

"The combination of the culture of initiation, the recognized academic research capabilities and the innovative mentality of the United Kingdom give you a real opportunity to lead the way."

While the United Kingdom is in a better position than most, generating enough talent to meet the future need remains a challenge.

Microsoft is doing its part with the launch of two new AI training programs aimed at addressing AI's shortage of talent in business and the academic world.

The first initiative, Microsoft AI Academy, consists of face-to-face and web-based training sessions aimed at business and public sector leaders, as well as developers and new businesses.

Speaking at Future Decoded in London, Cindy Rose, CEO of Microsoft UK, said:

"The academy help develop practical artificial intelligence, learning and certification skills for clients and partners."

Microsoft use the academy to train its own staff, including Cindy itself.

The second initiative aims to address the problem that leading researchers in artificial intelligence are being attracted from the academy to private companies that offer salaries up to five times larger than universities.

Dr. Chris Bishop, Director of the Microsoft Research Laboratory at Cambridge, said:

"One thing we have seen in recent years is: because there are many opportunities for people with machine learning skills, particularly in the industry, we have seen a lot of outflows of the best academic talents to the industry. .

"This worries us because it is the main academic professors and researchers who are responsible not only for research, but also for fostering the next generation of talents in this field."

To help solve the problem, Microsoft is funding a program to train the next generation of data scientists and machine learning engineers called "Microsoft Research-Cambridge University Machine Learning Initiative."

Microsoft partners with universities to ensure that it does not steal talent, allows employees to continue to perform teaching functions, funds some related PhD scholarships, sends researchers to jointly supervise students in universities and offers paid internships to work with Microsoft teams on projects .

While the impact of Brexit is not mentioned in the Microsoft report, it is generally understood how the United Kingdom prepares to leave the EU and has the opportunity to implement a fairer immigration policy that does not prioritize some nationalities. This is important as more growth is expected in countries such as China, India and the United States.

Meanwhile, some experts predict that EU members they remain behind with respect to their global counterparts in areas such as artificial intelligence due to excessive regulation and their slow nature of formulation and policy change, which could increase the economic and employment problems of the block.

Lord Clement-Jones, president of the Select Committee of the House of Lords on AI, said:

"Without a doubt, AI can provide a great opportunity for British society and the economy.

Today, the United Kingdom enjoys a position of artificial intelligence innovation, so as it enters a crucial stage in its development and adoption, the country has a clear opportunity to be a world leader. "

The Microsoft report surveyed 1,002 business leaders and 4,020 employees. The firm conducted interviews in the academic, business and government sectors.

About half of the employees (51%) and business leaders (49%) said they are not currently using any artificial intelligence technology at work. More than a third of the leaders say that adopting artificial intelligence technologies is not a current approach.

However, 58 percent of UK leaders believe that using AI to automate routine tasks provide more time for other jobs. Just under half (49%) say they allow them to be more productive.

"(AI will be) critical for the future success and prosperity of the United Kingdom," argues Rose. "Looking to the future, I think the AI ​​will change the game much more than any other technology that has come before."

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