Thursday saw the US tech giant, Microsoft, announce a staggering $3.2bn investment into the UK over the next three years in a move to drive future growth within the emerging artificial intelligence (AI) industry.
The funding will more than double Microsoft’s datacentre footprint in Britain, providing the infrastructure crucial for new AI models to work. Microsoft’s announcement has provided lawmakers and investors with much needed optimism in the future of the UK’s macroeconomy, with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt declaring Thursday to be a “massive day in the UK’s ambition to be the next Silicon Valley”. Claire Trachet, CEO/Founder of leading business advisory, Trachet, welcomes the move as a significant step towards the UK’s ambitions to become a global tech leader whilst also urging legislators to take this opportunity to address the risks of a fast-growing, under-regulated sector.
Microsoft’s multi-billion-dollar investment will enable more than a million people to gain crucial skills in the burgeoning sector, bringing more than 20,000 of the most advanced graphics processing units (GPUs) into Britain and kickstart the growth of AI infrastructure across sites in London, Cardiff and potentially the North of England. Following last week’s Autumn Statement that saw an additional £500m committed to the development of the UK’s compute capacity, the UK is well poised to become an AI powerhouse over the next several years.
Claire Trachet asserts that continued capital investment into the UK’s AI infrastructure will provide the backbone of Britain’s ambitions to become a global leader in the tech sector, with Microsoft’s announcement providing the most significant step towards this goal. However, Trachet notes that whilst Thursday’s announcement should be welcomed by those looking to invest in the growing market, policymakers and legislators should be turning their attention towards making AI an industry that works for everyone through pursuing regulation that fosters innovation whilst, at the same time protecting consumers. Currently, the UK lags sorely behind the EU, US and China in the policy area of AI regulation.
Claire Trachet comments:
“Thursday’s announcement should provide some much needed optimism to those initially sceptical of the UK’s ambitions to become an AI powerhouse. The $3.2bn will hopefully lay the bedrock for continued interest and enthusiasm within the burgeoning tech sector.
“Coupled with the additional £500m in funding promised in last week’s Autumn Statement, smaller-scale start-ups and SMEs, the backbone of the tech sector, will have renewed confidence to deliver cutting-edge products to market faster and ensure that Britain doesn’t lose its spot as a leader in Europe for this sector.
“However, what policymakers mustn’t lose sight of, is the essential need for regulation and a cohesive roadmap detailing the exact trajectory of the UK’s AI ambitions. At a time of sustained, high interest rates, investors can no longer take promises of growth for granted. Venture capital funds and high net worth individuals are more frequently ranking security and transparency as core values when it comes to making investment decisions and the UK should take this opportunity to join the likes of the US and EU in the pursuit of sensitive regulation.”
Claire Trachet (CEO/Founder of Trachet) is available to comment on:
- The impact of the Autumn Statement on investor confidence
- The current state of M&As in the UK
- Her experience in providing structure to scale-ups looking for finance or exit
- The challenges that founders will face in trying to scale up over the next 18 months