Whitehall is set to bring in leading AI and data experts from the private sector to catapult tech skills and innovation in government departments, according to Cabinet Office Minister Jeremy Quin.
The plan aims for government to utilise AI responsibly to improve public services by boosting productivity. This includes the creation of an Automation and Innovation in government unit to quickly level-up the technological skills of civil servants.
In a speech at the Policy Exchange think tank, Minister Quin, said: “There are brilliant people in our Civil Service, but I know there are many, as can be the case in any organisation, that feel stifled by bureaucracy.”
Quin also called for: “more specialisation, more access to outside voices and fresh ideas, staying longer in post, delivering certainty on what we are seeking to achieve and benefitting from crips evaluation on whether we have, while embracing the digital future which will transform our working lives.”
Alongside AI developments, a Data Marketplace will be set up to remove barriers to sharing data inside government, with further plans to make the marketplace available to third parties such as researchers and businesses by 2025.
John Kirk, Deputy CEO at ITG: “Working on upskilling and providing opportunities to improve digital skills in areas such as data and AI is key to accelerating business operations in all areas, and this remains key within Government departments. Combining efforts from the private sector, tech experts and the government will help quickly develop digital skills, which will drive the overall economy, and bolster confidence in AI usage as the UK continues to oversee its evolution. The creative industries, with confidence, will be able to enhance campaigns on a global scale, working hand-in-hand with innovative tech.”
Derek Mackenzie, CEO at Investigo, a global skills provider, said: “AI presents itself as a valuable tool for businesses working alongside brilliant people who can harness its full potential. Tech experts and the government should oversee AI’s increased usage and continue to highlight how businesses should follow suit for best practices. In order for that to be maximised, upskilling workforces in data and AI is important, and businesses should evaluate how they can recruit and train highly skilled staff.”
The news comes amidst a global group of AI experts and data scientists creating a new voluntary framework for the safe development of AI, led by The World Ethical Data Foundation.
The 25,000 members, who work at tech giants including Meta and Google, have put together an 84-point checklist for developers to consider before starting an AI project to encourage the trustworthy development of AI.