London might be tussling with Uber over its taxi license and grappling with Brexit, but it wants you to know that it’s still a major hub for artificial intelligence. On Monday the city’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, promoted a survey he’d commissioned that suggested London was the ‘capital’ of for Europe.
“London has twice as many companies as Paris and Berlin combined,” Khan said on the sidelines of the launch of London Tech Week, a collection of 200 tech events across the city that also kicked off on Monday.
Khan denied his transport office was smothering innovation by moving to take away Uber’s taxi license last year. “We’re not saying ‘no’ to innovation, but ‘no’ to rule-breaking,” he said.
Khan’s report was pulled together by CognitionX, a London-based advice service. The report found that investment into “ companies” in London had exceeded £200 million in 2017, a year-on-year increase of more than 50%.
That represented about 10% of the £2.45 billion ($3.3 billion) raised by London tech firms last year. The most popular sectors for companies in London were finance, insurance and law.
The numbers are impressive but should be taken with a pinch of salt as CognitionX maintained a broad definition of an company, or “ supplier.” It identified 758 such companies in London, 645 of which had headquarters in the capital. Each company was included because it sold “at least one product.”
As such the the report included companies that you might not normally associate with , including Starship Technologies and Babylon Health — the first makes self-driving delivery robots and the other is a telemedicine service that includes an automated symptom checker.
The report was also generous in including companies that carried out -research, but didn’t sell any -related products or services, and companies whose -related product was on the “borderline” of the definition of .
Large businesses are increasingly being encouraged to incorporate into their services, and it’s becoming easier to do so thanks to off-the-shelf machine- tools they can license from providers like Google (TensorFlow) or Amazon Web Services (Sage Maker and DeepLens).
The big showcase may be down to under pressure on Khan to show that London is very much open for business and cutting-edge technology, despite the central government’s dithering over a Brexit deal with the European Union.
“London’s unique global status as a capital of finance, business, government and technology is our standout asset,” he said, adding that this wasn’t going to change even after Brexit. […]