Dr Demis Hassabis, Tabitha Goldstaub and Dame Wendy Hall will be advising the UK government on AI as it looks to develop the technology.

Hassabis is behind the now Google-owned AI project DeepMind, which gained worldwide fame after the AlphaGo project, which beat a human champion in notoriously complex Chinese board game Go. He has now been confirmed as an adviser to the UK government’s Office for Artificial Intelligence.

Tabitha Goldstaub is co-founder of market intelligence platform CognitionX and runs UK AI event CogX. She will chair the UK’s new AI Council and will become AI Business Champion, following today’s announcement.

Dame Wendy Hall is a renowned UK tech leader and academic, Executive Director of the Web Science Institute, and co-founder, alongside Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the Web Science Research Initiative in 2006. Hall will be the first Skills Champion for AI in the UK.

The recent CogX event, at which Hall was in attendance, highlighted UK government interest in AI. These big names represent at the very least a PR win, as countries jostle to get ahead in the AI stakes, with potentially huge ramifications for the leader. Names like Hassabis and Hall will give a big boost to their efforts.

The Demis Hassabis effect

Matt Hancock MP, the minister for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, was also at the event, where he spoke about how the UK should approach job disruption as a result of artificial intelligence.

On today’s announcement, he said: “We want to harness the best possible AI leadership to help us seize this opportunity. Demis Hassabis, Tabitha Goldstaub, and Wendy Hall have the expertise and vision to help us make sure the huge benefits of this powerful new technology are available to everyone.”

Demis Hassabis commented on the importance of AI in the UK. “I’m honoured to be taking on the role of Adviser to the Office for AI and look forward to the huge opportunity that lies ahead,” he said.

“I’ve always believed that AI could be one of the most important and widely beneficial breakthroughs of the 21st century – and as a proud Londoner, it’s fantastic to see the UK’s world-class universities and start-ups already making major scientific advances.”

Sue Daley, head of cloud, analytics and AI at techUK, commented: “It sends a very clear, positive message that; only by government and industry working together, will we realise the full potential of AI. techUK also welcomes the continued leadership of Dame Wendy Hall on AI skills, given that building the next generation of UK AI talent is vital to securing the UK’s AI future.”