Bringing AI to life: Defining and building the AI taxonomy with The Data City

Posted on: 12/04/2023

Helping the UK to become a world leader in AI with a novel approach to data capture and classification.


To identify more opportunities and deliver effective policy making – both essential to the UK’s objective of becoming a world leader in AI – it’s crucial to understand the differences between regions and the type of AI offered to support different sectors. The Data City enlisted the help of Innovate UK KTN’s AI sector lead, Dr Caroline Chibelushi, to help improve their existing methodology and produce a new AI taxonomy. Her expertise was the key to capturing the data needed to map out the sector more effectively, as well as driving business growth.

The Challenge

Building reliable datasets about the AI economy in the UK is vital for sustainable economic development, and creating a taxonomy was fundamental in achieving this. It also provided the capability to extract and connect use cases with technology, regulations, skill requirements and much more. Whilst existing taxonomies are available and being used in the AI community, many don’t deliver accurate data or represent industry change. Creating a tool to extract and analyse information more easily would allow businesses and governments to better navigate and understand the AI ecosystem and economic trends.

Who we are

Innovate UK KTN exists to connect innovators with new partners and new opportunities beyond their existing thinking – accelerating ambitious ideas into real-world solutions.

We create diverse connections to drive positive change, and to establish a network of innovators so powerful its ideas will change the world.

Developing the Taxonomy

Dr Chibelushi developed her AI taxonomy in three steps, starting with a clear differentiation between AI and cybernetics. This enabled her to use one to enhance the performance of the other, whilst maintaining a distinction between the two.

Though both are based on the binary logic principle and human-machine interaction, cybernetics is not AI. AI is based on the idea of creating machines to mimic human intelligence and behaviour. Cybernetics is the science of human-machine interaction that employs the principles of feedback, control and communication. IoTs, digital twin, robotics and apps are examples of cybernetic concepts, which use AI in different ways but weren’t considered when developing the taxonomy.

Having previously supported businesses across the UK AI sector, Dr Chibelushi used her experience – alongside literature review – to identify the language used to define the AI taxonomy content. For full details of the taxonomy that was created, download the case study PDF.

Results and Impact

Working with an authority such as Innovate UK KTN has given The Data City authenticity in the space, producing a taxonomy already proven to be the best available. By developing a robust  methodology that could be applied to other sectors, they’ve also been able to attract new audiences and grow as a business, securing enough revenue to grow their employee base by five times.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) was interested in identifying critical and promising AI companies working in the UK. Innovate UK KTN and The Data City partnered to produce a series of RTICs that make it possible to find the targeted companies. This allowed for the mapping of AI companies across the UK, revealing where the fastest-growing companies are and how funding is being distributed. For example, the data showed that the regions receiving the most funding weren’t always those growing at the fastest rate, reinforcing the idea that investment in the UK favours areas in the south to the detriment of other regions.

This data will allow and encourage investors to distribute funding across different regions, building a strong AI sector that is well represented at both a local and national level. Read more about national and regional insights on The Data City’s blog.

The AI taxonomy was crucial in achieving this result, not only because it enabled the DCMS to map the sector, but because it set the basis for taxonomy production elsewhere. The number of institutions engaging with this taxonomy is testament to its impact.

As well as the DCMS, the Bennet Institute – part of the Productivity Institute – and other regional organisations have used the AI definition and RTIC in research projects to better understand the sector. Over 3000 individuals have requested information on these taxonomies, and even more are accessing this information via reports published into the public domain.

There are currently over 130 economists and statisticians using the platform in their work, whilst the taxonomies are being used by almost all national government departments, local authorities and a wide range of non-governmental organisations such as the Catapults and Innovate UK.


Working with Dr Chibelushi to develop the AI taxonomy was a critical step for The Data City, especially in the definition of RTIC methodology. Producing a dataset that successfully targeted companies working in AI allowed The Data City to map out the sector, identify trends and influence policy making, as well as replicate the same methodology for other sectors.

The Data City have also improved their authority in the space, thanks to their association with Innovate UK KTN, allowing them to attract new audiences and grow their business. Dr Chibelushi is continuing to support The Data City on future projects and innovation, with plans already in the making.

Contact Us

From idea development to investor readiness training, to warm introductions with industry-leading businesses, we can help.

We are government funded and non-competitive; we exist to connect innovators with new partners and new opportunities beyond their existing thinking –accelerating ambitious ideas into real-world solutions.

Whatever your current level readiness, whether an idea in its infancy, a developed solution ready to market, or somewhere in between, Innovate UK KTN has the expertise and extensive partner network to help realise your goals

If you have an AI project you wish to develop, please contact our AI expert Caroline Chibelushi.

For more information on our work, visit: AI at Innovate UK KTN

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Caroline Chibelushi

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