Research and development in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine learning (ML) can transform the way we work and live, but how is R&D impacting the AI and ML process? KPMG’s Ken Hardy and Damian Flanagan explore some of the issues. 

Technologies such as ML and AI are great catalysts for R&D. The adoption of AI/ML and data analytics are having a significant impact on industrial research and development in Ireland and as deep technology becomes ubiquitous across industries other than pure computer science, we are seeing accelerated rates of development, enabling more complex products and processes.

Centres of excellence in industries such as MedTech, pharma, network engineering, logistics and financial services have been established in Ireland specifically to harness Ireland’s capabilities in AI and ML. 

We have also observed a trend that a renewed importance has been placed upon data and metadata (data about data). There are two key drivers for this:

  1. companies are seeking metrics to enable them to become more agile. For example, in manufacturing, this could be calculating how long it will take for the upfront cost of automation to outweigh the cost of a manual production line.
  2. for companies seeking to leverage the benefits of AI/ML, we know that the quality of output of learning algorithms is solely dependent on the quality of data input. This places a renewed emphasis on the type of data that should be collected and how this data should be used.

Examples of AI and ML in action

Education: Artificial intelligence has been used to detect young children’s speech patterns, and processes differences in accents or dialects and these patterns can be used to help teachers assess students’ reading levels.

Pharma: During the COVID crisis, artificial intelligence was utilised in COVID-19 drugs, to accelerate drug repositioning. Researchers found that AI approaches are now necessary and can accelerate COVID-19 drug repurposing.

Cybersecurity: Security professionals can now study network data using AI and detect vulnerabilities to prevent harmful attacks by identifying irregularities in their networks.

Electronic Engineering: Within the Silicon Design industry, there is potential to introduce ML across the entire production process. For example, in analogue circuit design, companies that have access to thousands of SPICE models for any given circuit topology might be sitting on the perfect training set required to herald in a new era of ML-assisted analogue designs.

Medical Imaging: AI, specifically Computer Vision Algorithms are excellent at finding patterns, this gives them huge disruptive potential in the field of medical and diagnostic imaging. For example, we are already seeing AI systems outperforming humans in identifying abnormalities in tissue and certain kinds of cancer. In the future, we can expect these algorithms to increase in usefulness as we collect more data and design more complex AI systems.

Do AI & ML qualify for R&D tax relief?

Yes, is the short answer. While the use of artificial intelligence is more commonplace nowadays, there often remain significant technological challenges in developing these technologies. Where significant technological challenges exist and the existing knowledge in the industry cannot be used to resolve these challenges, these activities could qualify for the R&D tax credits.

Get in touch

If you have any queries on claiming R&D incentives for AI- and ML-related activities in your business, please contact Ken Hardy or Damien Flanagan of our R&D incentives team. We'd be delighted to hear from you.

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