On Monday 14 November techUK attended the launch of a report by Alan Mak MP which calls for the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) to be at the heart of Britain’s new Industrial Strategy. The “Masters of the Revolution” report highlights techUK’s work on the importance of addressing the digital skills gap and ensuring the UK’s Artificial Intelligence future. The reports key recommendations were welcomed by Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Rt. Hon Greg Clark MP at the launch event. The Business Secretary spoke about the vital role technology plays in helping to consider the “challenge of the future. He highlighted the importance of “getting things right” to ensure the UK can achieve the full economic and social benefits of technological innovation and the importance of having a framework in place that is focused on the medium and long term and an industrial strategy that is long term focused and can endure. Before congratulating Alan Mak MP on his 4IR report Greg Clark highlighted the importance of the UK being “bold” to ensure the UK can achieve the full economic and social benefits of technological innovation and having an industrial strategy that is long term focused and can endure as the pace of technological changes continues.
Alan Mak MP followed by highlighting the benefits of the increasing fusion between digital and traditional technologies. The 4IR report calls on policy makers to respond as the opportunities presented by AI, robotics, IoT, autonomous cars, drones and 3D printing gathers pace and the need for the UK to take a pro-innovation and entrepreneurial approach to ensure the UK can realise the full opportunities of these technologies. To make this happen the report outlines 20 recommendations. These included:
- Using Brexit as a catalyst to accelerate Britain’s 4IR leadership role
- Creation of a new national Catalyst Fund for 4IR innovation in convergent technologies such as digital agriculture.
- A fast tracked visa system for high-skilled 4IR worked
- Establishment of a National Research Institute, or Catapult Centre for Robotics and Autonomous Systems and Robotics and Autonomous Systems Leadership Council
- Regional test bed for 4IR products and services such as autonomous vehicles
- Continued investment in digital infrastructure, specifically a new phase of fibre-optic broadband roll out and 5G mobile Internet
- A review of how the education system is preparing the UK for the 4IR
- A standing Commission on AI at the Alan Turing Institute as recommended by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee
- Strong legal protection for innovation through patents and other IP mechanisms
- A nation-wide focus on cyber security as organisations become increasingly reliant on digitally advanced systems such as robotics and AI.
techUK will be exploring many of the issues raised in the 4IR report, including the value of Artificial Intelligence following a recent techUK event looking at what the UKs AI driven future could look like. techUK is also planning to outline the importance of getting the UK’s infrastructure fit for the next stage of the UK’s digital development, in our 2017 work programmes.
If you are interested in getting involved in techUK’s 2017 work on Big Data, Data Analytics, Communications Infrastructure, Internet of Things and SmarterUK please just get in touch with the relevant techUK staff outlined below.