The UK government is spending big — to the tune of £900m — to ensure it doesn’t get left being in the AI game.
With OpenAI’s ChatGPT powering Microsoft Bing, Google developing Bard, and Baidu working on Ernie, the UK government wants to make sure it’s not left behind. According to The Guardian, the UK government is investing in a supercomputer to build its own “BritGPT.”
The supercomputer will “allow researchers to better understand climate change, power the discovery of new drugs and maximise our potential in AI.”
The supercomputer is an exascale computer, capable of “more than one billion billion simple calculations a second, a metric known as an “’exaflops.'” There is only one other known exascale computer housed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the US.
“We think there’s a risk that we in the UK, lose out to the large tech companies, and possibly China, and get left behind … in areas of cybersecurity, of healthcare, and so on. It is a massive arms race that has been around for some time, but the heat has certainly been turned up most recently,” said Adrian Joseph, BT’s chief data and artificial intelligence officer, speaking to the Commons science and technology committee.
“Because AI needs computing horsepower, I today commit around £900m of funding … for an exascale supercomputer,” said the chancellor, Jeremy Hunt.