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HomeTechSunak will lobby Biden for the UK's 'leading' role in AI development

Sunak will lobby Biden for the UK’s ‘leading’ role in AI development


Rishi Sunak is flying to Washington this week for talks with US President Joe Biden as the prime minister seeks to exert British “leadership” in the debate over the development and regulation of artificial intelligence.

Sunak is expected to discuss a moot “Cern for AI”, modeled after the International Particle Physics Project, which conducts international research in a tightly controlled ethical and physical environment.

He also plans to discuss with Biden the idea of ​​a global AI regulatory body, possibly based on the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA).

Last week, Sunak said he thought the UK “could play a leading role” in AI and Downing Street insiders suggested Britain could play host to a new international regulatory body.

Officials number 10 said Sunak does not endorse a specific model at this stage, but the two-day visit to Washington would be a great opportunity to flesh out ideas.

An ally of Sunak said the first step was “agreeing a joint approach and ensuring international alignment” with the US and other allies, adding: “Then we can move forward with what that looks like”.

They confirmed that both Cern and the IAEA were the sorts of examples to consider and both have been put forward by the AI ​​industry, whose leaders have called for stricter regulation.

Sajid Javid, former chancellor and ex-advisor of US artificial intelligence firm C3 AI, told the FT that both models were complementary and thought they should be considered.

Javid said Cern, on the French-Swiss border, provided a “highly controlled environment” for international particle physics research conducted for the public good.

Meanwhile, the Vienna-based IAEA was an international regulatory and oversight organization that oversaw the peaceful development of nuclear energy. “It’s not this or that,” Javid said. “They can actually be very complementary. You need a regulator and also ethical research backed by Western governments.”

Javid said there was a good chance for Britain to assume a post-Brexit leadership role in AI, as a hub between the powerful US and EU trading blocs and with a working economic relationship with China.

A UK official said: “The Prime Minister is well aware of the need for international alignment of the approach to AI as the technology evolves, to ensure we can both benefit from the opportunities but manage the risks.

“The UK is well placed to play a leading role in this and the first step is to work with our allies around the world on this work.”

While Sunak is in Washington, he is expected to meet with other political and business leaders as well attend a baseball game at the Washington Nationals stadium.

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