Chancellor announces £1m Manchester Prize for AI

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 The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum Group.Image source, The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum Group

Image caption,

A replica of Baby, aft which the prize is named

By Chris Vallance

Technology reporter

The chancellor has announced an yearly £1m prize for the astir ground-breaking probe into artificial intelligence.

It volition beryllium called the Manchester Prize successful honour of Baby, the world's archetypal stored-program computer, built astatine the University of Manchester successful 1948.

Jeremy Hunt said helium wanted the "best AI probe to hap successful the UK".

His Budget besides announced astir £900m to acceptable up a AI probe assets and make an "exascale" supercomputer, with archetypal investments this year.

Capable of astatine slightest a quintillion operations per second, exascale computers tin beryllium utilized for forecasting upwind oregon modelling clime change, arsenic good arsenic AI.

The chancellor besides announced a £2.5bn 10-year probe and innovation programme for quantum computers.

'Notable omissions'

Entrepreneur web Tech Nation said called his Budget "a affirmative denotation of the UK government's committedness to becoming a subject and exertion superpower".

Industry assemblage TechUK said helium had "put the UK backmost connected the transportation erstwhile it comes to the planetary contention for subject and technology", contempt "notable omissions and frustrations, specified arsenic the deficiency of a UK semiconductor strategy and the lone partial reversal of cuts to the R and D [research and development] taxation credit".

British spot businesses person sought much authorities help, arsenic the US and China summation enactment for their semiconductor industries.

And successful a determination wide seen arsenic a setback to UK ambitions, chip-design institution Arm - whose enactment is wrong galore of the world's astir fashionable gadgets - recently chose not to prosecute a listing connected the London Stock Exchange.

Labour shadiness civilization caput Lucy Powell said: "The Budget contains nary program to unafraid sovereign capableness successful semiconductor plan and manufacture, nary program to modulate integer markets to unleash competition, innovation and user choice, and nary program to enactment much businesses, and peculiarly SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises], to instrumentality vantage of caller technologies."

Media caption,

Watch: What is quantum computing?

AIs are trained connected ample datasets of images and text, sometimes "scraped" from the net without permission.

But artists and others who allege their intellectual-property rights person been violated person challenged this legally.

In the Budget, the chancellor said: "We'll enactment astatine gait with the Intellectual Property Office to supply clarity connected IP rules truthful that generative AI companies tin entree the worldly they need."

And immoderate rights holders fearfulness this means the authorities volition revisit a stalled program to supply an exemption to copyright rules to fto AI companies scrape content.

Rachel Coldicutt, who follows the societal interaction of technology, tweeted: "The nett effect of this whitethorn good beryllium to springiness with 1 manus successful the abbreviated word and instrumentality distant with the different - with the imaginable of prioritising an as-yet-unproven imaginable (generative AI) implicit an established high-performing manufacture (creative industries)".

Digital-inclusion strategy

Good Things Foundation main enforcement Helen Milner welcomed the chancellor's announcement of £100m backing for charities and assemblage organisations but said: "This is simply a Budget which recognises the value of integer exertion but falls woefully abbreviated of the people connected integer inclusion.

"We request a caller digital-inclusion strategy for the UK led by the government.

"We request contiguous enactment and concern to co-fund integer inclusion and skills.

"Without this, radical successful urgent request of enactment volition beryllium incapable to payment from authorities concern successful captious areas specified arsenic integer mental-health services."

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