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UK and US Form World’s First Partnership on AI Safety

The US and the UK have formed the world's first partnership on Ai safety.
The US and the UK have formed the world’s first partnership on AI safety. Credit: Ecole polytechnique. CC BY 2.0/flickr

The UK and the US have signed a landmark deal that will see them collaborating to develop robust methods for evaluating the safety of artificial intelligence (AI) tools and the systems that form their foundation.

It is the first agreement of its kind, and the UK tech minister Michelle Donelan said it is “the defining technology challenge of our generation,” adding “We have always been clear that ensuring the safe development of AI is a shared global issue,” as reported by the BBC.

“Only by working together can we address the technology’s risks head on and harness its enormous potential to help us all live easier and healthier lives,” she concluded.

The secretary of state for science, innovation, and technology said the agreement builds on commitments made at the AI Safety Summit held in Bletchley Park in November last year.

The event was attended by AI bosses, including OpenAI’s Sam Altman, Google DeepMind’s Demis Hassabis, and tech billionaire Elon Musk. It saw both the UK and US initiate AI safety institutes that aim to evaluate open and closed-source AI systems.

The US commerce secretary, Gina Raimondo, too acknowledged the importance of the AI challenge, saying “This partnership will accelerate both of our institutes’ work across the full spectrum to address the risks of our national security concerns and the concerns of our broader society,” per the Guardian.

What Will the US-UK Partnership on AI Safety Look Like?

Under the formal partnership, Britain and the US are set to perform at least one collaborative testing exercise on a publicly accessible model and are thinking about introducing personnel exchanges between the institutes. Both are trying to build similar partnerships with other countries to promote AI safety.

Generative AI – which can produce text, photos, and videos in response to open-ended prompts – has fuelled excitement as well as concerns that it could make some jobs obsolete, interfere with elections, and potentially overpower humans since the release of ChatGPT in November 2022.

Both the UK and the US plan to share important information on capabilities and risks associated with AI models and systems and technical research on AI safety and security.

In October, President Joe Biden signed an executive order that aims to reduce the risk of AI. In January, the Commerce Department said it was proposing a requirement for US cloud companies to determine whether foreign entities are accessing US data centers to train AI models.

In Greece, a legal framework for the use of AI was adopted in March last year. The Law on emerging information and communication technologies has introduced rules and obligations for employers when using AI systems affecting in any way decisions relating to employees, with an impact on their working conditions, and their selection, among other things.

Affected are also medium-sized companies and large companies that use AI systems in the context of consumer profiling or for the evaluation of their employees or partners. Such companies must also maintain an electronic register of the AI systems they use, and prepare and adopt a data use code of conduct.

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