Microsoft to spend $3.2 billion on the UK's AI infrastructure that should bring "more than 20,000 of the most advanced GPUs to the UK by 2026"

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What you need to know

  • Microsoft Vice Chair and President Brad Smith released an official statement on the company's plans to create a large "AI infrastructure" in the UK.
  • The company will spend $3.2 billion (£2.5 billion) on this effort over the next three years to bring more than 20,000 advanced GPUs to the UK by 2026.
  • Microsoft will invest in three main areas: The UK's AI infrastructure, AI talent and education programs, and AI safety and security measures. 
  • Smith states this should help the UK economy while "supporting the UK’s growing AI safety and research efforts."

Microsoft Vice Chair and President Brad Smith released an official statement on the company's $3.2 billion (£2.5 billion) plan to create "a major AI infrastructure and skilling investment supported by a new partnership on security" in the UK. The goal is to support the growth and progress of AI while "protecting public security," helping the economy, and providing jobs. To achieve all this, the company will work with the UK government and university researchers. 

It will help the UK seize the artificial intelligence (AI) opportunity and ensure that AI innovation and safety progress together while creating jobs, improving services, and protecting public security.  Microsoft is committing to more than doubling its datacenter footprint in the UK, training more than one million people for the AI economy and supporting the UK’s growing AI safety and research efforts through partnerships with the government and leading universities.

A more formal explainer can also be found at Gov.UK as well.

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Smith explains this investment will see Microsoft spending $3.2 billion (£2.5 billion) over the next three years. He also explains the "three key areas" that this investment will cover — 1. ) Microsoft invests in the UK's AI infrastructure, 2.) Microsoft invests in AI talent and education programs, 3.) Microsoft invests in AI safety and security measures.

  1. Microsoft will invest in the UK’s AI infrastructure — Sites in London, Cardiff, and potentially northern England will focus on growing this AI infrastructure. As part of the plan, the program will "include prioritized access to GPUs for the UK’s science and research community" with researcher participants from "universities including Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial College, UCL, Bath, and Nottingham."
  2. Microsoft will invest in broad-based AI talent and education programs — The company plans to train one million people while working with non-profit groups on subjects such as how to work with AI, start a career in AI, and even how to build upon AI. Microsoft also states it plans to have a focus on safety and responsibility including "Responsible Generative AI" training. 
  3. Microsoft will invest in strong AI safety and security measures — To keep things safe and secure, Microsoft will have ongoing collaboration with both the UK government and AI Safety Institute.

Windows Central's take

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More AI

Obviously, AI isn't going away and will continue to drastically change just about every aspect of entertainment, media, the workforce, tech, and various other areas going forward. It's important that companies step in to guide the growth of this complex technology so that it's developed responsibly and so that people are prepared to take advantage of it rather than being daunted by it. If Microsoft keeps true to its focus on responsibility, safety, and education, this investment plan will benefit people around the world. 

As with the blossoming of the internet in the 90s, the growth of AI has already had an impact on the job market and will continue to affect it as time goes on. Rather than fighting it, we should embrace it but with the understanding that it can be used as a tool to assist us in our daily work, not as a replacement for people. 

Rebecca Spear
Editor and Reviewer

Self-professed gaming geek, Rebecca Spear, is one of Windows Central's editors and reviewers with a focus on gaming handhelds, PC gaming, and laptops. When she isn't checking out the latest games on Xbox Game Pass, PC, ROG Ally, or Steam Deck; she can be found digital drawing with a Wacom tablet. She's written thousands of articles with everything from editorials, reviews, previews, features, previews, and hardware reviews over the last few years. If you need information about anything gaming-related, her articles can help you out. She also loves testing game accessories and any new tech on the market. You can follow her @rrspear on X (formerly Twitter).