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UCL Institute of Education professor informs Government's AI strategy

17 October 2017

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Rose Luckin, Professor of Learner Centred Design at the UCL Knowledge Lab, has informed the independent review into the Government's Artificial Intelligence (AI) strategy, which was published on Sunday on behalf of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) sector.

The review was announced as part of the Government's Digital Strategy in March. The Industrial Strategy Green Paper, published in January, identified AI as a major, high-potential opportunity for the UK to build a word-leading future sector of the UK economy.

The working group consisted of experts from industry and academia, who proposed a set of recommendations for how the Government can work with industry to stay ahead of the competition and grow the UK's use of AI across the economy.

Professor Luckin emphasised the need for greater workforce skills and more support for the study of AI, which is reflected in the 18 recommendations put forward by the group.

Commenting on the review, Professor Luckin said: "We need this review to empower us to open up our data and to protect us from its misuse. At the moment there are a few large tech companies who hold a great deal of data about you, me and everyone else, so let's open up the silos in the sky and supercharge AI to enhance education.

"The key to all of this is of course education, because that will be the route for the AI experts to gain their knowledge and understanding to build the systems to advance health care, improve services for customers and unlock £630bn for the UK economy.

"However, beyond this obvious role for education there is the important fact that education can also be a key beneficiary of AI, because the combination of big data, AI and our increased understanding about how people learn has the potential to be a 'game changer' for good in education."

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said: "I want the UK to lead the way in Artificial Intelligence. It has the potential to improve our everyday lives - from healthcare, streamlined personal public services to robots that perform dangerous tasks. 

"We already have some of the best minds in the world working on Artificial Intelligence, and the challenge now is to build a strong partnership with industry and academia to cement our position as the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business."

The report makes 18 recommendations to make UK the best country in the world for businesses developing AI to start, grow, and thrive. These include the establishment of a UK AI Council to help coordinate and grow AI in the UK, which Professor Luckin fully supports. Professor Luckin highlights the recommendation to develop 'Data Trusts' - proven and trusted frameworks that will ensure exchanges of data are secure and mutually beneficial. She also agrees with the recommendation that universities should use clear, accessible and (where possible) common policies and practices for licensing Intellectual Property (IP) and forming spin-out companies.

Professor Luckin is currently leading the £4.5m EDUATE project at the UCL Knowledge Lab, which seeks to grow the EdTech Industry, with a special focus on UK Artificial Intelligence by making the best research evidence and practice on educational technology accessible for educators, researchers and technology developers.

The project works closely with the Government; a representative from the Department for Education (DfE) sits on the advisory board and has helped to shape the project's five year strategy. CENTURY, an AI company on the first EDUCATE cohort, has been singled out by the Government for Growing the Artificial Intelligence Industry in the UK. 

The recommendations put forward in the independent review will now be carefully considered in discussions towards a potential Industrial Strategy sector deal between Government and the AI industry.

Media contact

Rowan Walker
Email: r.walker@ucl.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)20 3108 8815 

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