UK Prime Minister announces world’s first AI Safety Institute

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced that the United Kingdom will establish the world’s first AI Safety Institute to examine, evaluate, and test new types of artificial intelligence (AI). Sunak made the announcement during a speech at The Royal Society reflecting on a global responsibility to understand and address the risks surrounding AI to realise its benefits and opportunities for future generations.

Sunak delivered his speech just days before the UK hosts the Global AI Safety Summit at Bletchley Park — the iconic home of computer science. In April, he announced plans to establish the UK government’s Frontier AI task force to lead the safe and reliable development of frontier AI models, including generative AI large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT and Google Bard. It was launched in June and is backed with GBP100 million in funding to ensure sovereign capabilities and broad adoption of safe and reliable foundation models, helping cement the UK’s position as a science and technology superpower by 2030.

Meanwhile, in August, AI was officially classed as a national security threat to the UK for the first time following the publication of the National Risk Register (NRR) 2023.

British people deserve peace of mind over advanced protections for AI

“The British people should have peace of mind that we’re developing the most advanced protections for AI of any country in the world,” Sunak said. “I will always be honest with you about the risks, and you can trust me to make the right long-term decisions.”

The AI Safety Institute will assess and study these risks — from social harms like bias and misinformation, through to the most extreme risks of all – so that the UK understands what each new AI model is capable of, Sunak added.

“Right now, we don’t have a shared understanding of the risks that we face. Without that, we cannot hope to work together to address them.” The UK will therefore push hard to agree to the first ever international statement about the nature of AI risks to ensure that, as they evolve, so does shared understanding about them, Sunak said.

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