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Microsoft to Invest £2.5 Billion in UK AI Data Centers Over 3 Years

Fri 01 Dec 2023 | 03:37 PM
Israa Farhan

Microsoft, the US tech giant, has unveiled plans to invest £2.5 billion (about $3.16 billion) over the next three years to significantly expand its data center infrastructure dedicated to next-generation artificial intelligence (AI) in the United Kingdom. 

This ambitious initiative aims to more than double the AI infrastructure and capabilities within the country.

The investment will involve the deployment of over 20,000 cutting-edge Graphics Processing Units (GPUs), which play a crucial role in machine learning and AI model development, in the UK by 2026. This expansion will solidify the UK's position as a hub for advanced AI technologies.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt praised this substantial investment, emphasizing its importance for future growth and innovation. He highlighted its potential to elevate the UK as a science and technology powerhouse.

Microsoft's commitment extends beyond infrastructure expansion. The company will significantly increase its data center presence in key locations, including London, Cardiff, and the possibility of establishing centers in northern England. 

Moreover, Microsoft plans to train over one million individuals to meet the growing demand for skilled professionals in the AI sector. 

This effort aligns with the burgeoning need for efficient, scalable, and eco-friendly AI-specific computing power.

Furthermore, Microsoft is actively engaged in supporting the UK's advancements in AI safety and research. Collaborative partnerships with the government and renowned universities reflect the company's commitment to enhancing AI technology's safety and efficacy.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hailed this historic investment as a pivotal moment in the development of AI infrastructure in the UK. 

This undertaking represents the largest single investment in the UK over the past four decades, underscoring the nation's dedication to fostering innovation and technological progress.

Earlier in November, Sunak inaugurated the world's first AI Safety Institute, aimed at evaluating the safety of emerging AI technologies. 

This initiative enjoys support from leading AI companies and nations. Sunak emphasized the potential benefits and inherent risks of AI technologies, highlighting the importance of research and regulatory frameworks.

The UK recently hosted the inaugural AI Safety Summit from November 1 to 2, convening global government leaders, major AI corporations, civil society organizations, and field experts to address the critical challenges and opportunities presented by AI advancements.