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Britain will host the first global AI regulatory summit in the autumn


Rishi Sunak, the British Prime Minister, will announce on Thursday that Britain will host the first world summit on the regulation of artificial intelligence this fall, following a meeting in Washington with President Joe Biden.

Sunak will tell Biden that Britain can take leadership in setting up the “guard rails” for the new technology and will host the meeting to discuss how internationally coordinated regulation can reduce risks.

Downing Street said the summit would bring together political and industrial leaders from “like-minded countries”, but China is likely to be excluded. “Invitations will be sent out at the right time,” Sunak’s spokesman said.

Sunak will hold talks with Biden on Thursday about increasing “economic security,” including a likely US-UK deal on developing supply chains in vital sectors, such as critical minerals, to bypass China.

The prime minister will also discuss with Biden the need to arm Ukraine “years in the future,” arguing that “longer-term security arrangements and agreements” need to be made to defend the country against Russian aggression.

“We want to make sure that Ukraine can defend itself not just today, but for years to come,” he told the BBC. “That will also deter Russia from aggression and convince it that there is no point in continuing this illegal and unprovoked war.”

The AI ​​meeting is a British initiative and will take place alongside the G7 “Hiroshima AI Framework”, established to coordinate global regulation of the new sector. The EU and the US are also having their own conversations about AI regulation.

During a visit to Washington, Sunak encountered a question as to whether a medium-sized country like Britain could hope to lead a debate that is already on the minds of political leaders in the US and the EU.

“That medium-sized country happens to be a world leader in AI,” Sunak said. “It would be hard to find many countries other than the US in the Western world with more expertise and talent in the field of AI. We are the place to lead the conversation.”

Last month, the prime minister met with the bosses of OpenAI, Google DeepMind and Anthropic to discuss a regulatory framework for the new technology, claiming that only the EU and UK had had such talks.

Sunak got a boost when US tech company Palantir announced it would be expanding its UK operations as its “European hub” for AI development. It already employs more than 800 people in Britain.

Sunak added: “Historically, the UK has been right in trying to balance innovation with ensuring the new technology is safe for society. We have a good track record of getting that balance right.”

The two leaders will also discuss joint efforts to build economic security against the threat from China, but said protectionism and a “zero sum” subsidy race were not the way to go.

He hopes Biden will strike a deal with Britain under the $369 billion US Inflation Reduction Act, previously denounced by British ministers as “protectionist”so that British suppliers of critical minerals in the US supply chain can benefit from the subsidies.

Rishi Sunak lays a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia
Rishi Sunak lays a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia © Simon Walker/No 10 Downing Street

On Wednesday, Sunak laid a wreath at Arlington Cemetery, met senior U.S. political figures on Capitol Hill, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, and attended a Washington Nationals baseball game.

On Thursday, ahead of the meeting with Biden, Sunak will seek business on a roundtable with CEOs including David Solomon of Goldman Sachs, Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase and Kathy Warden of Northrop Grumman.

But Sunak said he would not meet former US President Donald Trump in Washington, saying he had a “quite busy schedule”. He added, “I’m meeting key congressional leaders from both sides and, of course, the president.”

As with previous efforts to cement the relationship between the US and the UK, both sides are paying close attention to the reciprocal exchange of gifts between the two leaders.

Downing Street said Sunak would give Biden a personalized Barbour jacket, made in South Shields, with the words “Mr President” embroidered on it.

For his part, Biden Sunak will be a book written by his possible ancestor Christopher Biden about discipline on merchant ships in the mid-1800s, a volume containing some rigorous solutions to the threat of shipboard disorder.

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