The Cyber Security AI Arms Race Hots Up (The Week in AI)

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Cyber AI specialist Darktrace has secured another $50 million in Series E funding to enable its global expansion. As covered here by TechCrunch, the London-based company currently boasts a $1.65 billion valuation. The UK tech scene can bask in this heady valuation, particularly with Funding Circle publishing its IPO prospectus last week, another unicorn expected to be valued at around $1.5 billion depending on how the IPO process.

Darktrace’s mission to combat AI-based attacks also fits neatly with the Government’s vision of ensuring the UK is a place that helps shape AI to the benefit of mankind, not its detriment.

In an article this week, The Economist examined Europe’s place in the AI and data analytics arms race. While the article oscillated in typical Economist fashion between the advantages and challenges that Europe has in leading in AI, the scepticism expressed by the great and good of Silicon Valley was notable. “It will screw this up, just as it has done with cloud computing,” says Jack Clark of OpenAI in the article, because Europe tends to favour incumbent businesses over disruptors. Much discussion on the event circuit this year has been around how the Government can do more in terms of opening procurement to innovative start-ups. The question is, can the Government respond and make changes?

News in Brief:

Around Whitehall:

Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright abandons hologram project

Fearing a fiasco, Jeremy Wright jettisoned the plan for his speech at Tory party conference to be presented in holographic form. Discretion may have been the better part of valour here for the new Secretary, given that this was his predecessor Matt Hancock’s idea in the first place.

Read more here: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/shortcuts/2018/sep/24/culture-secretary-jeremy-wright-hologram-tory-party-conference

Labour party conference light on AI

In contrast to last year when the opposition leader’s speech included a grave warning on AI’s impact on jobs, the Labour Party Conference seemed very light on discussion of artificial intelligence, aside from a couple of fringe events specifically on the topic. On the assumption that artificial intelligence will have major impacts on our economy, and with the Centre for Data Ethics & Innovation just wrapping up its consultation, this does perhaps seem a missed opportunity for Labour to lay out its vision on how it would manage and leverage artificial intelligence.

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