In a groundbreaking move, Microsoft has announced a monumental $3.2 billion investment in the United Kingdom’s artificial intelligence (AI) infrastructure and training initiatives, marking its most significant commitment to the region since its inception 40 years ago.
Brad Smith, Vice Chair and President of Microsoft, shared the details in a company blog post, emphasizing the strategic importance of the investment in meeting the escalating demand for efficient, scalable, and sustainable AI compute power. As part of this initiative, U.K. researchers and businesses will receive prioritized access to Microsoft’s Accelerating Foundation Models Research program, unlocking the potential of the latest cloud and AI advancements.
Beyond infrastructure, Microsoft is set to make a multimillion-dollar investment to train one million individuals in AI skills, catering to both newcomers and industry professionals. The comprehensive program aims to foster AI fluency, develop technical skills, drive business transformation, and champion responsible AI development.
Notably, the training includes the introduction of the “Professional Certificate on Generative AI,” accompanied by follow-on and advanced courses for industry practitioners. Prospective trainers will undergo Microsoft’s “Responsible Generative AI” training, ensuring adherence to ethical AI development principles.
The announcement has been met with enthusiasm in the U.K., with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt describing it as a “vote of confidence” in the nation’s status as a tech hub. The U.K. has emerged as a leader in European AI endeavors, contributing substantially to the sector’s growth and employing over 50,000 people, surpassing even Germany and France combined.