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UK to set up AI safety institute, PM Sunak says ahead of summit


British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak leaves 10 Downing Street, in London

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak leaves 10 Downing Street to attend Prime Minister’s Questions at the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, October 18, 2023. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne Acquire Licensing Rights

LONDON, Oct 26 (Reuters) – Britain will set up the world’s first artificial intelligence safety institute, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Thursday, ahead of a global summit next week that he has convened to examine the risks of the technology.

The institute will “examine, evaluate and test new types of AI so that we understand what each new model is capable of, exploring all the risks from social harms like bias and misinformation through to the most extreme risks,” he said.

Britain is bringing together AI companies, political leaders and experts at Bletchley Park on Nov. 1-2 to discuss what some see as an existential danger posed by AI, with an aim of building an international consensus on its safe development.

Sunak wants Britain to be a global leader in AI safety, carving out a role after Brexit between the competing economic blocs of the United States, China and the European Union.

Around 100 participants will discuss subjects including the unpredictable advances of AI and the potential for humans to lose control of it, according to the agenda.

Sunak said that while AI will boost economic growth, advance human capability and solve problems once thought beyond us, it also brings new dangers and new fears.

“The responsible thing for me to do is to address those fears head on, giving you the peace of mind that we will keep you safe, while making sure you and your children have all the opportunities for a better future that AI can bring,” he said.

The UK government has published a report on “frontier” AI, the cutting-edge general-purpose models that the summit will focus on.

The report will inform discussions about risks such as societal harms, misuse and loss of control, the government said.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and Google DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis are on the guest list next week.

China is expected to attend, deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden said on Thursday, while European Commission Vice President Vera Jourova has received an invitation.

Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) economies, comprising Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain, the United States and the European Union, in May called for adoption of standards to create trustworthy AI and to set up a ministerial forum dubbed the Hiroshima AI process.

Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Mike Harrison and William Schomberg

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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