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Industrial strategy outlines role of artificial intelligence in ageing society

The UK government has said it will harness the power of innovation to help meet the needs of an ageing society in its industrial strategy published today.

27 NOV 2017 | CHRIS SEEKINGS
Artificial intelligence key to industrial strategy ©Shutterstock
Artificial intelligence key to industrial strategy ©Shutterstock

It highlights how almost a quarter of the country’s population will be 65 or over by 2046, stating that the government will help businesses take advantage of the markets created by this demographic change.

This will involve encouraging the development of age-related products, as well as smart home technologies, wearable devices and tech-enabled health and care services.

The strategy also sets a target to increase research and development investment from 1.7% of GDP to 2.4% by 2027, potentially raising an additional £80bn for advanced technology over the next decade.

Business secretary, Greg Clark, said: “Powered by new technologies, the way we live our lives as workers, citizens and consumers is being transformed across the world.

“Britain is extraordinarily well placed to benefit from this new industrial revolution. We are an open enterprising economy, built on invention, innovation and competition.”

The strategy highlights four ‘grand challenges’ facing the UK, which along with an ageing society and artificial intelligence, also include clean growth and the future of mobility.

As first announced in the chancellor’s autumn budget, the government has already committed £400m to the funding of charging points for electrical vehicles, and an extra £100m for the plug-in car grant.

It will also invest an additional £406m in mathematics, digital, and technical education, helping to address the shortage of science, technology, engineering and maths skills.

After the Office for Budget Responsibility downgraded GDP expectations following poor productivity figures, the strategy states the National Productivity Investment Fund will increase to £31bn.

It also announces a new programme to deliver cheaper, cleaner energy, and that the government is in the process of developing the world’s first green financial management standards.

In addition, it outlines how powerful NHS databases will be used to diagnose and treat illness earlier, and that a forthcoming green paper will set out proposals for sustainable reform of the social care sector.

“Partnership with innovators, inventors, job creators, local leaders, the devolved administrations, workers and consumers will continue as we work together to make our country fit for the future,” Clark added.


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