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MS launches ‘AI in Wales’ initiative in collaboration with Deep Knowledge Group

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A GROUNDBREAKING initiative, “AI in Wales,” has been launched by Welsh Parliament Member Tom Giffard in collaboration with the Global AI Industry Ecosystem Association, Deep Knowledge Group. This initiative aims to showcase Wales’ burgeoning artificial intelligence (AI) ecosystem, with a particular focus on healthcare, technology, and economic revitalisation.

The “AI in Wales” platform and report, unveiled on May 29th, 2024, provides a comprehensive overview of the AI landscape in Wales. It includes detailed profiles, mindmaps, and databases of 50 companies, 40 investors, and 5 hubs, highlighting Wales’ unique contributions to the field of AI..

Key Objectives and Vision

Tom Giffard expressed his excitement about the initiative, stating, “I welcome the launch of Deep Knowledge Group’s report into the AI landscape in Wales. The report outlines the potential advantages of AI technology in our Welsh economy and the opportunities a strong AI ecosystem could offer, with encouraging analysis of the current landscape whilst carefully considering future challenges.”

Dmitry Kaminskiy, General Partner of Deep Knowledge Group, also emphasised the significance of this collaboration: “As firm believers in the transformative potential of AI, we are proud to collaborate with Welsh Parliament Member Tom Giffard on the ‘AI in Wales’ initiative. This tie-up underscores our shared vision of harnessing AI technologies to empower communities, drive economic prosperity, and foster sustainable development. Together, we are poised to unlock new opportunities and shape the future of AI in Wales and beyond.”

The Growing AI Ecosystem in Wales

Wales is witnessing significant growth in its AI ecosystem, particularly in the private and public sectors. Key areas of advancement include healthcare and technology, where AI is set to revolutionise various aspects of these fields. The initiative highlights AI’s potential to drive economic revitalisation in Wales, especially in advanced manufacturing, digital health, and fintech sectors.

Strategic Focus Areas

The “AI in Wales” initiative aims to:

  • Catalyse Cross-Sector Collaboration: By fostering partnerships between government, academia, industry, and civil society, the initiative seeks to leverage AI-driven solutions to address societal challenges such as climate change, healthcare disparities, and digital inclusion.
  • Promote Economic Growth: The initiative emphasises the economic benefits of AI, which include enhancing productivity, fostering new business models, and driving sustainable growth.
  • Develop AI Talent and Infrastructure: Investing in AI talent development and infrastructure is critical to positioning Wales as a global hub for technology and innovation.
  • Advance AI Policy and Governance: 2024 marks significant strides in AI policy development, focusing on skills, partnerships, and digital platforms. The Welsh Government’s updated strategies highlight the importance of user-centric digital services and partnership-driven innovation in AI.

Key Takeaways

  • Welsh AI Ecosystem’s Growth: Wales is seeing notable advancements in its AI ecosystem, particularly in healthcare and technology.
  • AI’s Economic Impact: AI offers substantial opportunities for economic revitalisation, aligning with global trends towards digitalisation.
  • Engagement and Education: Targeted awareness and educational programs are essential to demystify AI and demonstrate its practical benefits.
  • Policy and Governance Evolution: The Welsh Government’s strategies emphasise user-centric digital services and partnership-driven innovation.
  • Sector-Specific AI Applications: AI’s potential spans diverse sectors, revolutionising workflows and fostering new business models.
  • Opportunities for Strategic Collaboration: The development of AI in Wales hinges on cooperative efforts across sectors.

As the “AI in Wales” initiative progresses, Deep Knowledge Group and Tom Giffard are committed to engaging with stakeholders across academia, industry, and government. This collaborative effort aims to drive innovation, foster collaboration, and realise the full potential of AI in Wales and beyond.

For more information and updates on the “AI in Wales” initiative, stay tuned to The Pembrokeshire Herald.

Business

Another ‘first’ for west Wales brewers Evan Evans

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AWARD-WINNING brewers Evan-Evans will launch the first Welsh zero alcohol cider at the Royal Welsh Show next week.

Blended and bottled in Llandeilo, the zero alcohol drink will be part of the hugely-popular RedHog cider brand.

“We pride ourselves in being an innovative brewery here in Llandeilo and we are delighted to be showcasing the new zero alcohol RedHog at the Royal Welsh in Llanelwedd, Builth Wells,” a company spokesman said today.

“Our RedHog wild cider is already a great hit with consumers. It is a subtle blend of delicious ciders from the Welsh borders. 

“The Buckley family has been brewing since 1767 and there are seven generations of brewing passion and expertise in the heritage of the Evan Evans brewery.

“Down the years, we have earned a reputation for quality beers and ciders. We also boldly go where other brewers fear to tread in developing new products. We get great feedback from our customers and they are hugely influential in telling us what drinks they like.”

The Evan Evans spokesman added: “Our new zero alcohol cider will help appeal to younger drinkers and those who love the taste of a great and refreshing cider.

“We are launching two new zero alcohol flavours – RedHog Medium Dry Zero, and RedHog Summer Fruit Zero.

“There is huge demand for zero alcohol products and we at Evan Evans have spent the last two years perfecting the Reverse Osmosis (RO) process for the dealcoholisation of cider and beers.

“We are the only Welsh company currently using the process. RO gives us the opportunity to retain and build flavours while stripping out the alcohol.

“We have spent a lot of time developing taste profiles, and getting the products right. Too often, the complaint is that zero products lack taste. These ciders are excellent, exciting, and provide a very real alternatives for designated drivers and customers who do not wish to drink alcohol.”

The RedHog zero alcohol drinks will be available from early next week from the brewery Rhosmaen Street, Llandeilo, or Castell Howell Foods in Carmarthen.

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Business

Steel industry faces turning point amid planned blast furnace closures

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THE CLOSURE of the UK’s last remaining blast furnaces has sparked significant debate and concern. As Britain plans to shut down the last blast furnace at Port Talbot and the two still in operation at British Steel in Scunthorpe, many are questioning the implications for the country that invented modern steelmaking.

The transition from traditional blast furnaces, which produce “virgin steel” by melting iron ore with coking coal, to electric arc furnaces (EAFs), which recycle scrap steel using electrical currents, is at the heart of this debate. Virgin steel production is notoriously carbon-intensive, while EAFs offer a more environmentally friendly alternative, aligning with Britain’s net-zero laws.

Critics argue that the UK will become overly dependent on steel imports, which could be problematic in times of international conflict. However, this argument fails to acknowledge that the UK’s virgin steel production is already heavily reliant on imported materials such as iron ore from Sweden, Brazil, and Australia, and coal from various parts of Europe. By shifting to EAFs, the UK would instead use domestic scrap steel, reducing reliance on foreign materials.

It was once true that EAFs could not produce advanced steel grades, but technological advancements have changed this. For instance, the finest grades of steel for aircraft landing gear and nuclear submarines are already produced in UK EAFs. While some argue that certain steel grades still require virgin steel, others in the industry believe EAFs can meet all steel production needs with the right materials.

Tata Steel UK’s plan to replace Port Talbot’s blast furnaces with EAFs could significantly reduce carbon emissions. While there are concerns about the economic and employment implications of this transition, it also presents an opportunity to recycle the 7-8 million tonnes of scrap steel the UK currently exports annually.

Despite these benefits, there is unease about the rapid closure of all UK blast furnaces. This drastic shift may lead to unintended consequences, especially given the high energy costs in the UK. If electric arc steel production proves more expensive, it could drive up the cost of steel, making imports from countries with less environmentally friendly practices more attractive.

Additionally, the UK’s steel strategy appears conservative compared to pioneering efforts in countries like Sweden, where hydrogen DRI plants are being developed, and the US, where electrolysis is being explored for steel production. The UK, once a leader in industrial innovation, risks lagging behind by committing solely to EAFs.

While the closure of the UK’s blast furnaces represents a significant step towards reducing carbon emissions, it also underscores a broader issue: the need for a more ambitious and innovative approach to steelmaking. The country that once spearheaded the Industrial Revolution must now rise to the challenge of leading the next wave of industrial innovation.

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Business

Calls for extra charges for holiday let owners to be relaxed

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A CALL for an update on Pembrokeshire County Council’s position on a potential relaxation of the ‘182-day’ rule, allowing self-catering accommodation to avoid paying a council tax premium is to be heard later this week.

Last year, the rules on holiday lets in Wales changed; Welsh Government criteria saying holiday lets must be filled for 182 days a year – up from a previous 70 – in order to qualify for business rates rather than pay second homes council tax.

In Pembrokeshire, second homes, and self-catering businesses not meeting the criteria, are now paying a 200 per cent council tax premium in the county, effectively a treble rate of council tax.

At the July 18 meeting of full council, a question submitted by leader of the Independent Group, Cllr Huw Murphy will be heard, a follow-up from a previously submitted notice of motion where he had called for a relaxation in the ‘182-day’ rules in the county.

Cllr Murphy will ask: “At full council on October 12, 2023, I submitted a Notice of Motion (NoM) requesting that PCC use its discretionary relief policy regarding the current 182-day occupancy rule for self-catering accommodation and reduce the eligibility criteria to 140 days in support of the tourism industry.

“This NoM was debated by Cabinet on Dec 4, 2023, where it was not adopted but would be reviewed in 12 months following the impact of legislative change where evidence to support potential change to the 182-day occupancy rule will have been gathered.

“Furthermore, Cabinet stated they would write to Welsh Government to highlight concern over the 182-day occupancy rule and to be provided with information on how the current regulations are working both in Pembrokeshire and the rest of Wales, to support a review in 12 months’ time.

“Nine months have elapsed since this NoM was presented to Council in Oct 2023 and seven months since Cabinet debated it with two recommendations and this question is submitted in two parts.

“Can Council be provided with an update of what data has been obtained since Dec 2023 to examine the impact of the 182-day occupancy rule for self-catering properties in advance of a review to be completed by December 2024 prior to any decision over what level of second home council tax to be levied for 2024/25 as it may be necessary to consider a reduction to support an industry under pressure?

“Have PCC received a reply from WG with regards to the concerns raised with regards to the 182-day rule and its impact on the Pembrokeshire tourism industry?”

Cllr Murphy’s questions will be heard at the full council meeting.

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