Edinburgh is UK’s most AI-ready city says SAS

Scottish capital edges out Cambridge and Oxford in the AI Cities Index 2023, compiled by analytics specialists SAS.

UK cities were scored out of seven criteria to identify the location most likely to benefit from the growing commercial interest in AI.  Each was scored out of 100, giving a total score per city out of 700.

The criteria were:

  • Value of InnovateUK projects in each area, 2022-25 
  • Number of AI companies in the city 
  • Number of AI-related jobs currently advertised 
  • Number of AI-related meet-up events in each city 
  • Average life satisfaction of residents in each city 
  • Number of university courses which feature AI as part of the module 
  • Number of international flights within a 90-minute drive of the city, per day 

Given the first of these, it helped that InnovateUK has awarded millions of pounds to research projects at the University of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh Napier. 

But Edinburgh also came top for the criterion looking at university courses. In looked at every course offered in UK universities, not just those thought of as ‘tech’ subjects, the analysis offers new insights into the way AI is changing higher education.    

The new index shows significant growth in the AI industry since last year’s data was released. Cambridge was top of the index last year. Though it has moved down to second place, it still boasts the highest number of AI-related job roles available within its area. 

Third was Oxford, followed by Birmingham and Manchester. 

Newry in Northern Ireland was in last place in last year’s index but is now ranked 25th, having climbed 49 places. Leicester had leapt from no. 50 to no. 13. Inverness, Norwich and Wells have also seen considerable gains.  

Chichester, Bangor and Dundee now sit at the bottom of the list. But the dramatic changes since last year demonstrate how quickly action by local councils, business and universities can have a positive impact. 

Among the 32 London boroughs, Hillingdon is most AI ready, closely followed by Camden and Westminster. 

Glyn Townsend, Senior Director Education Services at SAS EMEA, says: ‘We’re in the golden time of the information age, as many business leaders across the UK realise the potential of artificial intelligence for transforming industries such as healthcare, education, finance and manufacturing.  

‘In healthcare, artificial intelligence can speed up diagnoses, drug discovery, and even help improve patient flow through hospitals. For manual processing tasks, AI and cloud analytics can be used to quickly digest, decipher and analyse the data set – reducing the need for office workers to spend hours manually sorting through data.’ 

In related news, this is the year local authorities look to business intelligence, according to Mark Cobb, CEO at Cantium Business Solutions.

Photo by barnyz


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