— The good, the bad and the indifferent – it’s budget fallout time.
— What does the future of tech regulation look like? Sir Patrick Vallance has some answers.
— The row over the U.K.’s position on TikTok takes an unexpected turn.
Good morning, we hope you survived budget day and are coping with the train/teachers/tube/lecturers/doctors/civil servants/BBC journalists (have we missed any?) strikes.
FIRST, THE NEWS: A budget that love-bombed tech was promised, and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt delivered, sort of. There was cash for computing … regulatory promises on AI and finance … and some hefty tax and investment announcements too.
Right-hand woman: Science and Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan was sitting next to Hunt looking pleased as punch on the front bench. But as the dust settles on the government’s self-styled pro-innovation budget, the all-important detail and reaction is a mixed bag.
Exascale is coming: The most eye-catching sum of money was the £900 million announced for a so-called “exascale” computer — for the uninitiated, that is a machine several times more powerful than the U.K.’s top supercomputer. The other big headline figure was the £2.5 billion towards a 10-year quantum computing program (more on that further down the email.)
Prized AI: Hunt also gave the go-ahead to plans to launch an artificial intelligence sandbox — a mechanism to allow companies to test for a limited time before entering the market. That would allow innovators to “trial new, faster approaches to help innovators get cutting edge products to market.” (More on that, and other recommendations made by Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance further down the email.) There will also be a prize worth £1 million a year which will be awarded to “the person or team that does the most groundbreaking AI research.”
Put your foot down: There was also another £100 million for the Innovation Accelerators programme which is focusing on three clusters:…