Today marks the beginning of London Tech Week, where Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will be one of the first to deliver his speech. Sunak believes that the United Kingdom needs to act faster in order to remain a tech capital and wants to encourage the tech leaders present to seize the opportunities and challenges of artificial intelligence. His vision does not come entirely as a surprise, as the topic of Artificial Intelligence was extensively discussed during his meeting with US President Joe Biden last week.
The UK feels the heat from the EU and America breathing down its neck and naturally does not want to be left behind or, worse, lose its position. Sunak wants the UK to have a greater role in the AI debate and nurtures the hope of establishing a global watchdog in London, something he discussed with US President Joe Biden during his visit to the White House last week. “We need to act – and act quickly. Not only if we want to maintain our position as one of the world’s tech capitals, but especially if we want to make this the best country for technology companies to start, grow, and invest,” Sunak’s words, as evidenced by extracts released by his office, will echo in a few hours.
Rishi Sunak will tell technology leaders that he wants the United Kingdom to become both the intellectual and geographic home of artificial intelligence regulation.
In a speech at the opening of London Tech Week on Monday, the Prime Minister will say that the “extraordinary” potential of AI developments must be executed “safely,” while positioning the UK as a potential home for a global regulatory body.
This comes after the leader of the Conservative Party used a trip to the US last week to announce that the UK will host the first global summit on AI safety.
In his remarks ahead of his appearance at the 10th London Tech Week, the Prime Minister will say, “We have already seen how AI helps the paralyzed to walk and discovers antibiotics that kill bacteria, and that’s just the beginning.
“The possibilities are extraordinary. But we must and will do it safely.
“I want the United Kingdom to be not only the intellectual home but also the geographic home of global AI safety regulation.”
The UK government has already allocated £100 million to a Foundation Model Taskforce established to lead AI safety in the UK.
US President Joe Biden told Sunak during his visit to Washington DC that he expected the British leader to “take the lead” in establishing internationally coordinated action to mitigate the risks of emerging technology.
Speaking to broadcasters in the US, Sunak said he believed the UK was “well-placed” to take a leading role in developing a “global architecture for regulation.”
The campaign comes after experts, including bosses of companies like Google DeepMind and Anthropic, publicly warned that AI could be used for harm in the wrong hands and pose a threat to humanity.
At Monday’s conference, Sunak will outline the need to bring together academics, leading tech companies, and the government to realize the benefits of AI that have the potential to improve lives.
Sunak will also state that the UK must “act quickly” to maintain its position as a technological center, as he asserts that the “tectonic plates of technology are shifting.”
Already home to the largest technology economy in Europe, he will emphasize that the technology sector is at the core of his priority to grow the economy, according to No 10 officials.
Downing Street said Sunak would explain how the UK, with world-class universities, more technology unicorns than France and Germany combined, and one of the most digitally literate societies in the world, is starting from a strong position.
Sunak will pledge to make it his mission to continue attracting tech investments to the UK, which he refers to as an “island of innovation.”
His government’s plan, he is expected to say, is to “make this the best country in the world to start, grow, and invest in tech companies.”
“That’s my goal. And I feel a sense of urgency and responsibility to ensure that we seize it,” he will tell the audience in Westminster.
After his speech, the Prime Minister will participate in a fireside chat with Demis Hassabis, chief executive of London-based Google DeepMind.
Joanna Shields, chief executive of Benevolent AI, said there had been “limited opportunities for action” regarding regulating AI and she was “delighted” that the UK was taking the issue seriously with the safety conference in the autumn.
“These crucial initiatives provide a solid foundation, and now it is essential for both the public and private sectors to work closely together to address this monumental challenge and place the UK at the forefront of AI regulation,” she said.
Poppy Gustafsson, Chief Executive of Darktrace PLC, said, “The UK is in a great position to lead the AI revolution.
“I’m thrilled to see this country focusing on this agenda and actively seeking to capitalize on the enormous opportunities it creates.”