Microsoft is set to launch a $3.2 billion investment in the United Kingdom for artificial intelligence (AI) infrastructure and training.
This marks the company’s largest U.K. investment since it started doing business in the area 40 years ago.
.@Microsoft is committed as a company to ensuring that the UK as a country has world-leading #AI infrastructure, easy access to the skills people need, and broad protections for the safety and security.https://t.co/qtTrjH9IS9
— Brad Smith (@BradSmi) November 30, 2023
Artificial intelligence infrastructure
Brad Smith, vice chair and president of Microsoft, described the investment in a company blog post. Smith stated that, alongside the $3.2 billion chest, the company would give U.K. researchers and businesses prioritized access to its Accelerating Foundation Models Research (AFMR) program:
“This infrastructure investment will help to meet the exploding demand for efficient, scalable and sustainable AI specific compute power and the needs of the private and public sector waiting to take advantage of the latest cloud and AI breakthroughs.”
Artificial intelligence training
Microsoft will also make a multi-million dollar investment to “train one million people with the skills they need to build and work with AI.”
This includes initial training for unskilled workers hoping to break into the field of AI. Per Smith, “the program will focus on building AI fluency, developing AI technical skills, supporting AI business transformation, and promoting safe and responsible AI development and use.”
Per Smith, the training will include “the first Professional Certificate on Generative AI.” It will also offer follow on and advanced training for industry professionals.
Prospective trainers will be required to complete Microsoft’s “Responsible Generative AI” training to ensure they’re “adhering to the ethics and principles of developing AI solutions responsibly,” writes Smith.
AI in the U.K.
The U.K. celebrated the news in a blog post from the office of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. According to the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, the U.K. is leading Europe in artificial intelligence with its endeavors in the field contributing nearly $4.7 billion to the block and employing more than 50,000 people.
Hunt described the investment as a “vote of confidence” for the U.K.:
“The UK is the tech hub of Europe with an ecosystem worth more than that of Germany and France combined – and this investment is another vote of confidence in us as a science superpower.”