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OpenAI, DeepMind will open up models to UK government

OpenAI, DeepMind will open up models to UK government

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LONDON — Google DeepMind, OpenAI and Anthropic have agreed to open up their AI models to the U.K. government for research and safety purposes, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced at London Tech Week on Monday. 

The priority access will be granted in order “to help build better evaluations and help us better understand the opportunities and risks of these systems,” Sunak said.

The announcement came in a speech that championed the promise of AI to transform areas such as education and healthcare and heralded the U.K.’s potential as an “island of innovation.”

“AI is surely one of the greatest opportunities before us,” said Sunak. By combining AI models with the power of quantum, “the possibilities are extraordinary,” he marvelled.

“But we must and we will do it safely,” he continued. “I know people are concerned.”

In March, the U.K. government published an AI white paper which set out a “pro-innovation” approach, but more recently Sunak has emphasized the need for “guardrails.”

Sunak said on Monday the U.K.’s ambition was to be “not just the intellectual home, but the geographical home of global AI safety regulation.” He declined to set out specific proposals for regulation.

The lynchpin of these plans is a global summit on AI safety that will be held in the U.K. in the fall, first reported by POLITICO. Sunak likened the summit to an AI-version of UN COP climate change conferences.

A Foundation Model Taskforce will also pioneer research on AI safety and assurance techniques, backed by £100 million of funding.

In the speech to London Tech Week, Sunak also name-checked semiconductors, synthetic biology and quantum as key areas of focus for the U.K. and said the country’s agile and balanced approach to regulation would continue to make it an attractive place to invest.

Anthropic and OpenAI have recently opened up European headquarters in the U.K. Palantir announced it was setting up an AI research hub in the U.K. last week.

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