NEWS5 June 2023

Sunak wants Britain to lead international AI regulation as government adviser warns of AI ban

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UK – The prime minister will this week lay out his ambition to US president Joe Biden that Britain should lead the way in developing the international regulation of artificial intelligence.

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Rishi Sunak is travelling to Washington DC on June 7 and 8 to meet with Biden as well as Congress members and business leaders.

During his visit, Sunak will discuss AI regulation with the US president as he wants Britain to play a pivotal role in drawing up global rules for the use of the controversial technology, according to reports.

Earlier this year, the government published a white paper extolling the benefits of AI, but ministers are now showing concern about the existential threat AI poses to the human race.

Sunak’s proposal comes as a member of AI Council says that some powerful artificial general intelligence (AGI) systems may eventually have to be banned.

Marc Warner, also the boss of British tech firm Faculty AI, told the BBC that “sensible decisions” must be made on AGI over the next six months to a year.

Warner’s comments are the latest high-profile intervention, warning of the dangers of AI.

He stressed that AGI needed strong transparency and audit requirements as well as more inbuilt safety technology.

The AI Council is an independent expert committee which advises the government and leaders in artificial intelligence.

Faculty AI helps its customers safely implement ChatGPT and its other products into their systems. 

The firm helped forecast demand for NHS services during the pandemic.

Warner, along with Twitter’s Elon Musk, signed an open letter wanting training of powerful AI systems to be suspended amid fears of a threat to humanity.

Warner said that “narrow AI”- used for specific tasks like translating text- can be regulated like existing tech.

But he warned that the potential of AGI systems, a new technology, was more worrying and would need different regulations.

"These are algorithms that are aimed at being as smart or smarter than a human across a very broad domain of tasks – essentially, every task," he said.

Several proposals for the regulation of technology have been put forward in the US, UK and EU. 

But the UK has ruled out a dedicated regulator for AI.