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Engineer.ai nets funding

Artificial intelligence company Engineer.ai has secured £29.5 million in funding to expand its AI digital properties builder in the UK, according to the Financial Times. The company combines human developers and AI to develop web and mobile properties for organisations at an accelerated pace. Anybody involved in the lengthy and oft-delayed process of developing a website will probably welcome that concept.

While the company is Los Angeles HQ’d, this is a big marker for AI in the UK and thus celebrated by digital minister Margot James: “It’s fantastic to see another one of our innovative digital firms raise the funding it needs to take a step to the next level.”

However, it should also be examined in a wider context. As continued political dialogue focuses on the need to upskill the UK in coding, offerings like Engineer.ai’s show that there is a danger of training for yesterday’s requirements. It should wake up policymakers, industry and education to the need for forward-looking curricula and training and the need to develop adaptability in the workforce and among young people.

Manchester, so much to answer for

The University of Manchester switched on the world’s largest neuromorphic computer this week. As reported here in Alphr, the computer is designed to replicate the human brain and requires over a million processors at its core. The technology mimics the biological neural activities of a human brain by emitting “spikes” of pure electro-chemical energy, meaning that the potential for medical progress is immense. The computer has already been used to simulate the Basal Ganglia, the region of the brain that suffers from Parkinson’s disease.

The idea behind the computer was originated 20 years ago and took ten years to build. While it showcases the immense potential of computing, it also is an inspiring tale of human endeavour! Based on this it might seem strange that Manchester is not one of the five universities receiving funding to be a technology healthcare centre (see Whitehall section below).

News in Brief:

Around Whitehall:

Government splashes £50m on AI centres for digital pathology

Business Secretary Greg Clark announced a major initiative for furthering the use of artificial intelligence in clinical settings, with the aim of improving patient care and improving efficiency in the NHS. £50 million from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund will fund five new technology centres.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/artificial-intelligence-to-help-save-lives-at-five-new-technology-centres

Margot James pens letter from Lisbon for City AM

Digital Minister Margot James penned an article for City AM while attending WebSummit in Lisbon. In the article, the MP for Stourbridge celebrated the success of regional cities outside of London at outstripping continental capitals. She also underlined the importance of the Turing fellowships in attracting the world’s top AI talent to the UK.

http://www.cityam.com/268416/a…

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