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London boasts “twice” as many AI companies as Berlin and Paris combined

London is home to twice as many AI companies as Paris and Berlin combined, according to a new report launched to mark the start of London Tech Week.

Commissioned by the Mayor of London and conducted by researchers at AI advice platform CognitionX, the report claims the city is “the artificial intelligence capital of Europe”.

London boasts 758 AI companies, of which 645 are headquartered in the capital. In total, these firms raised over £200m last year, 50 per cent more than in 2016.

“There are few areas of innovation that have the power to define our future economy and society more than artificial intelligence,” said Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

“The research describes a city with a rich technology ecosystem, a strong pipeline of AI innovation and an academic and investment base set up for the long term.”

The government has pledged to invest £300m in AI research over the coming years, as part of a sector deal designed to position the UK as a leader in the field.

The deal includes funding for the training of 8,000 specialist computer science teachers, 1,000 government-funded AI PhDs by 2025 and a Turing Fellowship programme to attract and retain talent.

The government will spend £9m on a new Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, which will advise industry and government on deploying data-driven technology in a way that protects consumers.

It spending package was announced just weeks after the president of France, Emmanuel Macron, committed to investing more than $1.5bn (£1.3bn) into French AI research over the next four years.

Tabitha Goldstaub, the co-founder of CognitionX, said London is at a crossroads. “Developing our open community, attracting and growing diverse talent, investing in research and ensuring rapid responsible adoption is key,” she explained.

“If industry, government and academia can gain consumer trust, get the challenging ethical considerations understood and ensure the benefits of AI are fairly distributed, this could lead to a brighter future for London and the UK.”