UK Appoints Tech Expert, Diplomat To Head AI Safety Summit

The UK government has confirmed two experts will lead its AI Safety Summit later this year, which will be the first major international summit of its kind on the safe use of artificial intelligence.

The government announced that one of the experts will be leading diplomat Jonathan Black, Heywood Fellow at the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford, and former UK G7 and G20 Sherpa and Deputy National Security Adviser.

The tech expert meanwhile will be Matt Clifford, CEO of investment firm Entrepreneur First, and Chair of the Advanced Research and Invention Agency. Clifford is one of the only private sector representatives to be appointed to this kind of diplomatic role.

ChatGPT: The End of Data Analytics as We Know It?

AI Safety Summit

The Government said both men bring a wealth of skills and will serve as the Prime Minister’s representatives, co-ordinating efforts to make sure the summit results in the development of a shared approach to mitigating the risks of AI.

The AI safety summit will consider the risks associated with AI, especially at the frontier of development, and discuss how they can be mitigated through internationally co-ordinated action.

It will also provide a platform for countries to work together on further developing a shared approach to mitigate these risks.

Clifford told Reuters he hoped the summit would set the tone for future international debates on AI regulation.

“You can think of this as a genuine summit – where there will be really crunchy discussions happening – to try to agree on a shared understanding of the risks, and as a platform for working together on mitigating them,” he was quoted as saying.

Citing the success of London-based DeepMind, Clifford said the UK’s credentials to be a world leader in AI were very clear.

“But this is not about saying the UK has the one right approach that we want all countries to adopt,” he said. “There are going to be many areas of AI policy where each country needs to adopt whatever works best for them.”

UK lead?

The summit comes after multiple calls from some AI experts about real world risks of ungoverned development of AI systems in the years ahead.

Last month the issue of AI was discussed the United Nations Security Council, as nations and governments around the world grapple over its regulation and governance.

The UK under Prime Minister Rishi Sunak agreed with President Biden in June to host an international summit on the risks and regulation of AI later this year.

It comes after the PM said he wanted the UK to be the “geographical home” of coordinated international efforts to regulate AI.

The UK has already set out its plan to regulate the artificial intelligence (AI) sector and proposed five principles to guide its use via its “adaptable” AI plan, so as to not stifle innovation.

Other governments and nations are at different states of proposed legislation of the technology.

Healthcare research

Besides appointing the two experts to spearhead preparations for the UK to host the international summit, the UK’s Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan has also announced £13 million to for healthcare research.

The Technology Secretary visited University College London (UCL) to announce £13 million is to be channelled into research that will deliver cutting-edge AI innovation in healthcare, with 22 winning university and NHS trust projects stretching from Edinburgh to Surrey set to receive a share.

The cash boost will support everything from the development of a semi-autonomous surgical robotics platform for the removal of tumours, to the ability to predict the likelihood of a person’s future health problems based on their existing conditions – showcasing the real-world impact artificial intelligence is having.

“The UK has a proud history of demonstrating diplomatic leadership on the most important issues of the day and Matt and Jonathan’s experience and expertise means that they are perfectly placed to lay the groundwork ahead of talks this year on safe and responsible AI,” said Technology Secretary, Michelle Donelan.

“We’re already a leading nation when it comes to artificial intelligence – and this summit will help cement our position as the home of safe innovation,” said Donelan.

“By leading on the international stage, we will improve lives at home,” said Donelan. “AI will revolutionise the way we live, including our healthcare system. That’s why we’re backing the UK’s fantastic innovators to save lives by boosting the frontline of our NHS and tackling the major health challenges of our time.”

“Artificial intelligence will fundamentally alter every aspect of human life. As AI rapidly evolves, we need a global approach that seizes the opportunities that AI poses while grasping the challenges and minimising the risks,” added Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly.

“No country will be untouched by AI, so with the support of our two expert representatives, the UK is proud to play a leadership role in the global effort to address the challenges and opportunities of AI,” said Cleverly.

The UK government said it will shortly confirm final dates for the AI Safety Summit, but so far has not named who is likely to attend.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

Recent Posts

Apple Briefly Overtakes Microsoft For Market Crown On AI Plans

Apple AI announcements triggers three-day rally that sees market value briefly overtake Microsoft for most…

9 hours ago

Musk’s X Lawsuit Against Nazi Report Author Slated For 2025 Trial

Trial set for April 2025 against Media Matters, after its report prompted an advertising exodus…

1 day ago

Elon Musk Wins Shareholder Vote On Pay, Texas Incorporation

Shareholders at Tesla vote to reinstate Elon Musk's 'ridiculous' $56bn pay package, and approve incorporation…

1 day ago

X (Twitter) Now Hides Posts Liked By Users

Elon Musk’s X platform (formerly Twitter) has this week begun hiding user likes, amid reports…

2 days ago