Sunak to press Biden for the UK’s “leading” role in developing artificial intelligence
Rishi Sunak will head to Washington this week for talks with US President Joe Biden, as the prime minister seeks to exercise British “leadership” in the debate over the development and regulation of artificial intelligence.
Sunak is expected to discuss a topic “Cern for AI”, Similar to the International Particle Physics Project, which conducts international research in a tightly controlled ethical and physical environment.
He also plans to bring up the idea of a global AI regulator with Biden, possibly based on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Sunak said last week he believed the UK could “play a leading role” in AI, and Downing Street insiders suggested Britain could be host to any new international regulator.
No. 10 officials said Sunak does not endorse any particular model at this point, but the two-day visit to Washington would be a great opportunity to brainstorm ideas.
One of Sunak’s allies said the first step was to “agree on a common approach and ensure international alignment” with the US and other allies, adding: “Then we can move forward to what it looks like.”
They emphasized that both Cern and the IAEA are sort of examples to look at and both have been put forward by the AI industry, whose leaders have called for tighter regulation.
Sajid Javid, a former consultant and ex-adviser to US artificial intelligence firm C3 AI, told the Financial Times that both models are complementary and he believes they should be considered.
Javed said CERN, on the French-Swiss border, provided a “very controlled environment” for international particle physics research done for the global good.
Meanwhile, the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency was an international monitoring and control organization that oversaw the peaceful development of nuclear energy. “Not this or that,” said Javed. “They actually can be quite complementary. You need a structured as well as ethical research supported by Western governments.”
Javid said there was a good opportunity for Britain to take a post-Brexit leadership role in artificial intelligence, as a halfway house between powerful US-EU trade blocs and under a pragmatic economic relationship with China.
A UK official said: “The Prime Minister is very aware of the need for international consensus in the approach to AI as technology evolves to ensure we can take advantage of the opportunities but manage the risks.
“The UK is well positioned to take a leading role in this and the first step is to engage with our allies from around the world in this work.”
While in Washington, Sunak is expected to meet other political and business leaders as well Attend a baseball game At Washington Nationals Stadium.