Published: 9 August 2023
The future of “safe and trustworthy” artificial intelligence will be led from Southampton – a professor behind a new multimillion AI institute launched in the city has revealed.
The Responsible AI UK programme, led by the University of Southampton, has been awarded £31million by the government to fuel the UK’s ambitions to be a science and technology superpower, according to its creator Professor of Artificial Intelligence Gopal Ramchurn.
The institute, known as RAIUK, is bringing together experts from across the world to work at Southampton to develop trustworthy AI that can be built into existing systems to benefit society – including healthcare, net zero, and future mobility.
Prof Ramchurn said: “Southampton has a long history AI research, and RAIUK will bring together AI development across the UK to make this country the world’s leading force for responsible AI.
“We will get researchers from different backgrounds and disciplines to work together and with policy makers and industry to develop an ecosystem that will underpin AI development and policy.”
RAI UK has already secured support from the Prime Minister’s office together with major private businesses and public sector bodies, including Google and the Met Police, to pioneer AI systems that respond to the most pressing needs of society.
It received the multimillion funding from the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to fund large and small research and innovation projects across the country – some of which are already helping to tackle climate change challenges and find new cancer treatments.
Celebrated computer scientist Dame Wendy Hall, a Regis Professor at the University of Southampton, said: “Billions have gone into AI funding worldwide – but it is the UK which will develop the future of AI regulation.
“All eyes are on the University of Southampton – it’s up to us to lead the UK on future AI development and, one thing is for sure, RAIUK will be at the forefront.”
RAI UK will build on Southampton’s legacy of pioneering artificial intelligence tech – which recently included the launch of underwater AI bots aimed at stopping illegal fishing and another system which is helping cardiologists treat heart patients.
Explaining trustworthy AI, Prof Ramchurn added: “Artificial intelligence does not need to be feared. It can be trustworthy in its functionality, but it is not yet trusted by the public because maybe it uses personal data in ways that we would not want it to do.
“It needs to be both technically safe and benefit us all – something we are aiming to achieve here in Southampton.”
Read more about how Southampton is leading the development of AI at www.rai.ac.uk.