The Government has awarded £13 million in funding to a raft of new technology projects - including one which uses artificial intelligence to combat fraud - as part of a drive to transform the accountancy, insurance and legal services industries.
With insurance fraud costing the UK £3 billion in 2017, the main AI project is being developed by Intelligent Voice, Strenuus and the University of East London. It will use algorithms and voice recognition technology to detect and interpret emotion and linguistics to assess the credibility of insurance claims.
However, it is just one of 40 being funded, which all take a collaborative approach with companies and research institutions working together to develop technologies that can benefit professional services.
Others include an online "bot" which will use AI to provide quick answers to legal questions online as well a project which will see AI software analyse accounting data and suggest ways for businesses to cut expenditure, such as new deals on gas, water and electricity bills.
Meanwhile, an analysis tool is also being developed which looks at images collected by drones to assess flood-damaged areas, using a 3D image recognition system to evaluate flood extent and depth alongside impacts on buildings and infrastructure to help with insurance claim assessments.
Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “Artificial intelligence and data are transforming industries across the world. We are combining our unique heritage in AI with our world-beating professional services to put the UK at the forefront of these cutting-edge technologies and their application.
“We want to ensure businesses and consumers benefit from the application of AI - from providing quicker access to legal advice for customers, to tackling fraudulent insurance claims, these projects illustrate our modern Industrial Strategy in action.
“We’re investing record levels in research and development so that every part of the UK can benefit from the industries and high-skilled jobs of the future.”
UK research and innovation chief executive, professor Sir Mark Walport added: “Through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund we are building on UK expertise in artificial intelligence and data science to deliver benefits that will be felt in the services sector and beyond."