21 February 2019
The government has today announced a coordinated nationwide programme of industry-funded AI Masters courses based on the recommendations and extensive input from BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT.
200 new AI Masters places at UK universities will be funded by companies such as Deepmind, QuantumBlack, Cisco and BAE Systems.
The government’s Office for AI commissioned BCS to look at possible frameworks and models for industry-funded courses in machine learning and related AI skills for graduates from STEM subjects.
BCS worked in collaboration with the Institute of Coding to consider how best to support the Masters programmes to address the UK’s skills gap at this level.
Bill Mitchell Head of Policy for BCS said:“The UK has to remain world class in digital technologies like machine learning if we’re going to thrive and prosper in an ever more competitive digital world, where we create skilled, rewarding, worthwhile jobs to replace the ones that have become automated.
“We’re delighted that through our communities, we’re supporting the Office for AI to develop effective industry-funded Masters programmes in AI and machine learning, which will nurture the diverse, inclusive talent pipeline of ethical AI professionals the UK needs.”
BCS consulted across a wide spectrum of industry stakeholders including BT, BAE Systems, Infosys, Lloyds, Deloitte, Amazon, ARM, Nvidia, Microsoft, IBM, McKinsey Quantum Black, DeepMind, Accenture, Ocado, HSBC and Cisco.
BCS also carried out a survey of its own members, especially on the importance of ethics to students, professionals and senior managers.
James Davenport, Vice President, Academy Board at BCS and Professor of Information Technology at the University of Bath said: “AI tools, particularly in the machine learning area, have become much easier to use, and are used in many areas of life, from stocking supermarket shelves to drug discovery.
“But being easy to use isn’t the same thing as being used correctly and it is impossible to make IT good for society if our approach to IT is not ethical.
“Hence BCS, with its long tradition of requiring ethical principles in every course it accredits, is pleased to see that ethical issues will be included in these MSCs.”
This is part of a wider initiative announced by the government today which aims to support thousands of graduates to become highly qualified AI experts. For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/next-generation-of-artificial-intelligence-talent-to-be-trained-at-uk-universities