From Apple to Tech Nation, it’s been an action-packed week for AI

Article by:Alex Maxwell


Apple has finally played its AI hand. As other tech giants stormed forward with introducing and integrating generative AI products, Apple was biding its time and seeing how the action unfolded. It flirted with using ChatGPT features for minor updates – most notably upgrading its autocorrect feature to help users stop sending ‘ducking hells’ on repeat – but had largely taken a back seat. 

As our ‘too interesting’ story in October pointed out, this strategy could have been intentional: Apple is “the master of taking its time to launch a product into a market – only to then release one that disrupts the industry in unforeseen ways”. But as AI giants Microsoft (in January) and Nvidia (this month) pulled ahead of Apple in company value, Apple seemed to realise it needed to jump back into action. 

Now, the company has embraced AI with open arms, announcing on Monday that it is integrating ChatGPT into iPhones to create “Apple Intelligence”. And its strategy initially worked: Apple briefly reclaimed the title of world’s most valuable company on Wednesday. 

Yet this wasn’t the only ‘big’ AI news of the week. 

Tech Nation reveals bustling UK AI scene

A new report by Tech Nation has painted a picture of a bustling AI scene beyond the main headline grabbers, revealing that the combined market valuation of the UK AI sector in Q1 2024 was a massive $92 billion. 

Here we pick out some report highlights before offering a roundup on an all-action week of AI news. 

  1. The UK is a global AI powerhouse – and startups are thriving 

AI investment boomed in 2023. With more than 1,800 VC-backed AI startups and 20 AI unicorns, the UK sits at the top of the leaderboard for AI investment in Europe and is fourth globally. 

Across 2023, UK AI startups raised $3.4 billion, the report notes – the second highest total on record – and investment grew year on year by 10%, bucking the trend of overall UK and global venture capital. 

Yet as Apple embraces generative AI, funding for pure generative AI startups comprised just 9% of total VC investment into UK AI companies, at $321 million. Despite this, overall investment in generative AI has surged in the past two years.

  1. Tech pros exhibit positive AI sentiment 

One in two UK tech professionals say that AI is having a positive impact on the UK economy and the country as a whole, while 69% say AI is positively impacting them personally today. Women and founders in tech express even more optimism, with just under three quarters (73%) of both groups saying it is positively impacting them personally today. 

This suggests AI could be seen as a tool to help even the playing field, both in business and society. “AI creates more opportunities for startups focused on women’s health,” said Tania Boler, Founder and President of Elvie, while Mursal Hedayat, the Founder & CEO of Chatterbox, said: “AI means better quality learning is going to be far cheaper than ever before.”

  1. Diversity improves, but still much work to do

Ten per cent of the total investment raised by UK tech startups in 2023 went to companies with at least one woman co-founder. While this is double the percentage from 2014, it also pales in comparison to the fact that one in 10 UK startups are founded by women. Moreover, there is a lack of data on tech startups founded by people of the global majority. 

Commenting on this subject, Flavilla Fongang, founder of Black Rise, said: “The UK is ahead of the rest of Europe in its desire to improve diversity in tech, but it’s a problem that can’t be solved by any one organisation. […] Black people need to feel empowered to believe they can start and scale tech businesses.”

Thoughts on action-packed week

Rather than produce its own AI offering, Apple has opted to partner up – is this a changing of the guard moment? No doubt this signals OpenAI has a monopoly on generative AI and a product with the most capability, perhaps now the equivalent of Google with search engines. 

Users will justifiably harbour data privacy concerns and Apple must reassure customers data is secure – but the iPhone’s privacy reputation might just give it an advantage over its competitors.

We’ve only had time to scratch the surface of the report: from AI skills and regulation to regional funding and sustainability, there are a whole host of insights and issues to unpack. 

Working on the ground with tech startups/scaleups, we know it’s been a tough environment for many, so we hope these findings indicate a positive shifting of the times. 

According to the report, “400,000 articles about AI were published in UK media in 2023”, so companies that can hone in on their AI and brand messaging will have the greatest chance of standing out. Big Tech may dominate the major outlet headlines, but there is a strong undercurrent of AI startups and scaleups telling their story every day. 

If you are interested in learning more about developing your AI messaging, feel free to drop us a line.


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