Following the recent Autumn Statement, TechWorks; the UK’s Deep Tech Trade Association warns that without a robust domestic semiconductor market, the UK AI Industry will fall behind the global market. In the recent Autumn Statement, the Government pledged a further investment of £500m to fund AI innovation centres and £4.5bn in manufacturing between 2025 and 2030 for zero-emission vehicles, battery technology, aerospace, life sciences and clean energy but nothing specific for the Semiconductor industry.
AI technology has developed at rocket speed due to the availability of graphics processing units (GPUs) that can handle the compute capacity required. The increase in performance attained by nVidia and others has been instrumental in enabling Large Language Models (LLM) and Generative AI, such as ChatGPT but the future of AI will be underpinned by even greater advancements in the chip industry. Inevitably this means semiconductors will be essential for the future of AI as demand for performant processors and compute engines increases exponentially.
UK companies currently lead the world in novel computing innovations, such as photonics (optical processing), neuromorphic (brain-like processing) and quantum (instant processing of complex problems). These innovations will pave the way for the next generation of AI computing, but, as a country, we fail to invest deeply and for long enough to scale these innovations into long-term globally successful organisations with UK roots and significant UK economic contribution. Without investment in the UK chip industry, this will have a detrimental effect on the UK’s future success in the global AI market.
TechWorks’ CEO Charles Sturman, commented, “The next 20 years will see society transformed by next-gen technologies such as Quantum, Optical computing and Augmented Reality and all of these are underpinned by semiconductors. The UK semiconductor industry needs a long-term strategy that is beyond the horizon of any single administration, and views differ across government. Globally, all other developed nations are working to support and grow their national industries, whilst in the UK, we continue to largely talk about it.
We need a long-term vision and bi-partisan commitment to maintaining a credible capability, resilient national security and a seat at the table globally for AI and other advanced technologies, where possessing a realistic semiconductor industry is rapidly becoming a major entry ticket.”
TechWorks is an industry association at the core of the UK deep tech community with an ambition to harness the country’s fantastic engineering and innovation to develop our position as a global technology super-power. The association was formed in 1996 and has led the charge since then to enhance the UK’s position as a leading player in the global Deep Tech ecosystem.