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From The Outset

by Brian Sims
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI: Editor of Risk UK

Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI: Editor of Risk UK

Business Secretary Greg Clark has launched the Government’s ambitious Industrial Strategy, setting out a long-term vision for how Britain can build on its economic strengths, address productivity performance, embrace technological change and boost the earning power of people right across the UK.

With the overriding aim of making the UK “the world’s most innovative nation” by 2030, the Government has committed to investing a further £725 million over the next three years in the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. This is a direct response to some of the greatest global challenges and opportunities faced by the UK and will include £170 million designed to “transform” the construction sector.

The Government had already set aside £1 billion for the first wave of Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund projects, including an investment of £246 million in next generation battery technology and £86 million for robotics hubs across the UK.

The White Paper launched amid much fanfare on Monday 27 November also confirms that the Conservatives will be pressing ahead on a series of Sector Deals, with construction, life sciences, automotive and Artificial Intelligence (AI) the first to benefit from new strategic and long-term partnerships with Government backed by private sector co-investment.

As part of its all-new Industrial Strategy, the Government has identified four Grand Challenges, one of which is to put the UK at the forefront of the AI and data revolution. In real terms, this represents an open invitation to business, academia and civil society alike to work and engage with the Government in order to innovate, develop new technologies and ensure that the UK seizes global opportunities that arise.

Dr Adrian Davis, European managing director at (ISC)², has made comment on the Government’s new Industrial Strategy, in turn expressing concern over certain aspects contained within. “Even though cyber security is mentioned as one of the key priorities in AI, we’re concerned that the former doesn’t appear in other parts of this Industrial Strategy,” explained Davis.

As far as Davis is concerned, without security being designed-in from the start (as indeed it should be), AI, ‘Smart’ and Internet of Things systems will be vulnerable to bias, bad data and sabotage, with “the Industrial Strategy for a digital economy building the roof before we have laid the foundations.”

Embellishing this theme still further, Davis observed: “Now that the Government wants to use AI for everything from healthcare through to recruitment, we urgently need a programme of validation such that any AI technology has been through a rigorous assessment process to eliminate sub-standard and insecure programming.”

In times hence, cyber security most certainly demands to be an integral part of the opportunities offered to individuals and educators alike. The Government promises that the UK will “lead the world in the safe and ethical use of data and AI” but, for this vision to be realised, Davis is right to assert that we must make sure we’re not sacrificing security on the altar of innovation.

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