WASHINGTON, DC – Britain is set to host key players for an AI summit in the fall as Rishi Sunak seeks to position the UK as the power broker on the topic.
Confirming plans for a conference first reported by POLITICO this week, British officials argued the UK would be « in a good position » to convene discussions on the future of AI.
They cited Britain’s exit from the EU to allow the UK to act quickly in response to a rapidly changing market. Ministers want to carve a path between strict EU regulations and the softer US approach.
Sunak, who is expected to discuss the topic when he meets with President Joe Biden on Thursday, hailed artificial intelligence as having « incredible potential to transform our lives, » but stressed « the need to make sure it is developed and used in safe and secure way. »
Downing Street did not say which countries or companies would join the talks, but the prime minister’s spokesman said Sunak was trying to bring « like-minded » nations together, noting that the prime minister had discussed the matter with all members. of the G7.
The spokesman denied that they were trying to create an alliance against China and Russia.
Sunak answered questions en route to Washington about his ambitions to lead AI diplomacy and whether they were realistic. He responded by saying that “this medium-sized country appears to be a global leader in AI” and insisted that “you would be hard-pressed to find many other countries other than the United States in the Western world with more experience and talent in AI.”
Speaking to POLITICO on the plane, he acknowledged that « we need to make sure we also protect the country from the risks it poses. »
He said the government was working to put in place « guardrails », reflecting the concerns of AI leaders such as OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and Google DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis, whom Sunak recently brought together for a meeting in Downing Street .
Sunak later suggested that he would have been happy for a robot to teach his children or take care of his grandmother. When asked about the potential use of AI to do the work of teachers and assistants, he told ITV: ‘Technology for our time has improved our lives and will continue to do so.’
At the same time as the summit dragged on, US tech giant Palantir announced it will open its new European headquarters for AI development in the UK. Sunak will meet founder Alexander Karp at a baseball game during his trip to Washington.
Some data specialists have warned against rolling out Palantir’s software across the NHS as the company bids for a £480m contract to build the UK’s NHS operating system.
The prime minister’s spokesman said: « NHS data will always be very carefully protected. »