Cambridge Is Britain's Most AI-Ready City

Cambridge has been named the UK’s most “AI-ready city” as the government unveils plans to encourage Artificial Intelligence (AI). The renowned university city scored highest outside London in the AI-readiness Index devised by software analytics firm SAS closely followed by Oxford, then Manchester, Salford, Edinburgh, and Birmingham.

Cambridge could be first in line to benefit from a growing appetite for AI in business and the public sector, new research has revealed. The study found that Cambridge had the highest number of AI-related jobs at 54,210.

AI has, for many years, been confined to science fiction - the idea of intelligent machines has been capturing the imagination of writers for centuries. However, the ability to store and process high data volumes using advanced algorithms and powerful computing means that AI is no longer confined to fiction.

The index compiled from seven criteria, including the number of AI-related Masters degree courses and job ads, tech meet-ups and amount of investment from the government agency Innovate UK in a town or city.

Along with having the highest number of AI-related jobs within a five mile radius, Cambridge also has a 43% five year business growth rate, and one of the highest volumes of research and development spend. Manchester and Salford also look like a force to be reckoned in the AI stakes, taking third and fourth place respectively. Collectively, they have 1,392 AI-related jobs available, indicating high demand for people with data skills.

The analysis also revealed which parts of the UK are least prepared to utilise AI to its full potential, and benefit from the jobs and investment it can bring.

While seven out of the least AI-ready cities are in the devolved nations, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Cardiff all appear in the top 15, with Edinburgh having the second highest number of AI-related courses overall. Glyn Townsend, Senior Director of Education Services at SAS said. “AI, machine learning (ML) and data analytics are transforming the way businesses and other organisations operate, and the fact that so many cities are embracing it as a positive sign. Many, such as Manchester and Salford, are outside London and the South East of England, which is a positive trend for the government’s ‘levelling up’ plans.

The SAS research also shows large discrepancies between the most and least-prepared areas. Size and the remoteness of the location might explain why some are lagging behind – but it’s important they’re given opportunities to get up to speed. “For a start, the UK doesn’t have enough data talent to meet demand for AI, so we need to increase the talent pool with more opportunities for people to upskill and reskill, instead of only relying on graduates.” Townsend commented.

British Government statistics show  234,000 job vacancies in the data sector, yet only a potential supply of 10,000 graduates per year. Instead of relying on graduates to fill the growing numbers of jobs available.

Gov.UK:          UK Tech:      ITPro:      Business Cloud:     SAS:      SAS:      Digit:  

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