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UK enlists DeepMind's Demis Hassabis to advise its new Government Office for AI

The DCMS has appointed DeepMind's Demis Hassabis, CognitionX's Tabitha Goldstaub and Professor Dame Wendy Hall as advisers to help develop the AI industry in the UK...

Tabitha Goldstaub, Matt Hancock and Demis Hassabis

The DCMS tweeted this image of its minister, Matt Hancock, with CognitionX's Tabitha Goldstaub and DeepMind's Demis Hassabisto announce its AI strateg.

Image: DCMS

The British government's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has enlisted Demis Hassabis, co-founder and CEO of DeepMind, to advise its "new Government Office for Artificial Intelligence". The aim, says the DCMS, is "to help the country build the skills and capability it needs to capitalise on the huge social and economic potential of AI -- a key part of the government's modern industrial strategy".

The DCMS has also involved two other leading figures in the AI scene. Tabitha Goldstaub, co-founder of CognitionX, will chair a new AI Council and become AI Business Champion. Professor Dame Wendy Hall, from the University of Southampton, will be the first Skills Champion for AI in the UK.

The AI Council is also backed by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

DCMS minister Matt Hancock said: "We want to harness the best possible AI leadership to help us seize this opportunity. Demis Hassabis, Tabitha Goldstaub, and Wendy Hall have the expertise and vision to help us make sure the huge benefits of this powerful new technology are available to everyone."

The government is investing £1 billion in AI projects with the private sector. Companies are expected to invest £700 million while the government contributes £300 million in matching funds.

It's not clear where the money has come from. However, in April, the EU announced plans to boost AI research by €20 billion to make Europe a world leader in AI. The UK signed that declaration, but is planning to leave the EU.

The appointments of Hall and Goldstaub follow from AI reports they have helped produce.

Last year, Wendy Hall and Jérôme Pesenti produced an independent report for the government on how to grow the AI industry in the UK. Goldstaub led the creation of the CognitionX report for the Mayor of London: London: the AI Growth Capital of Europe.

Hassabis's name is more widely known because of the stunning success of DeepMind's AlphaGo program, which defeated the world's best Go player. Google bought DeepMind in 2014.