Microsoft is investing billions to bring AI to the UK

(Image credit: Amazon)

Microsoft has announced plans to spend £2.5 billion ($3.2bn) in the UK to expand its next-generation AI datacenter infrastructure, increase skills, and improve security.

Redmond said that the move would bring “20,000 of the most advanced GPUs” to sites across the UK by 2026, and represents the company’s biggest single investment in the UK in its 40-year history in the country.

London and Cardiff, the capital of Wales, have been selected as two key regions that will be affected by the investments, however Microsoft has also alluded to further expansion in other areas, such as the north of England.

Microsoft UK AI spend

The company said that the infrastructure investment will help “meet the exploding demand for efficient, scalable and sustainable AI-specific compute power” and will be beneficial to both the public and the private sectors.

Microsoft has also promised to give the UK’s science and research community prioritized access to GPUs as part of the Accelerating Foundation Models Research (AFMR) program.

Beyond infrastructure upgrades, Vice Chair and President Brad Smith said that the investment would go toward upskilling one million people in readiness for artificial intelligence.

Finally, in-keeping with its commitment to safe and responsible AI, Microsoft said that it will work alongside the UK Government and AI Safety Institute.

“The UK started the global conversation on AI earlier this month, and Microsoft’s historic investment is further evidence of the leading role we continue to play in expanding the frontiers of AI to harness it’s economic and scientific benefits," UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said.

Smith added: ““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 safety and security.”

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