UK to host first global summit on AI safety, Rishi Sunak announces

Mr Sunak wants the UK to be a world leader on AI safety. Credit: PA

The UK will host the first global summit on artificial safety intelligence - bringing together key countries and leading tech companies - Rishi Sunak has announced. 

The announcement comes ahead of the prime minister’s meeting with President Biden on Thursday - their first bilat in the White House. 

Sunak wants to persuade Biden that the UK should take a leading role on AI - with hopes to create a global regulator based in Britain, and a CERN style research centre.

The PM has also confirmed new university scholarships focused on tech leadership. 

Rishi Sunak (left) and US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy during a meeting at Capitol Hill. Credit: PA

In Washington, Mr Sunak focused on the benefits from AI - such as enabling paralysed people, to walk to discovering superbug-killing antibiotics. But he also warned of the speed of development and need to put in place guardrails. 

Mr Sunak wants the UK to be a world leader on this but talks between the EU and US via a forum they have set up are already quite advanced. 

Asked by reporters why other countries should listen to a “mid-size country” like Britain on AI regulation, the PM said: "This mid-size country is the only country other than the US that has brought together the three leading companies with large language models.

"I did that the other week. We were able to have quite a substantive, strategic discussion about appropriate regulation of AI and the guardrails that are needed.

"That mid-size country happens to be a global leader in AI." 

He added: "You would be hard pressed to find many other countries other than the US in the western world with more expertise and talent in AI. We are the natural place to lead the conversation.” 

Some say the UK wants to strike a balance between the US’s more laissez faire approach and the EU’s tougher regulatory approach. 

It comes after two open letters warned of the power of AI, with some key developers themselves calling for a six-month pause on the most advanced work as they said even they didn’t know how to control machines. 

There have been warnings of machines flooding the internet with propaganda, the automation of all jobs or even human extinction.

The summit, which will be hosted in the UK this autumn, will consider the risks of AI and discuss how they can be mitigated through international action. 

It will also provide a platform for countries to work together on further developing a shared approach to mitigate these risks.

In May the PM  met the CEOs of the three most advanced frontier AI labs, OpenAI, DeepMind and Anthropic in Downing Street.

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