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UK and US announce partnership on AI safety and testing

Written by Thu 4 Apr 2024

Months after the AI Safety Summit held at Bletchley Park, the UK and US have formally signed a Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to collaborate on creating safe artificial intelligence (AI) testing models.

The UK and US AI Safety Institutes are expected to work on a joint testing exercise on a publicly accessible model that sets the groundwork for a shared approach to AI safety testing.

There is no question that AI is becoming increasingly advanced and used globally for a range of purposes but there currently exists little internationally agreed guidelines on best practice. To ensure emerging risks are well understood and prepared for, the memorandum will see collaboration on everything from AI research, to safety guidance and evaluations.

US Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo, said ‘AI is the defining technology of our generation’, in a statement,

“This partnership is going to accelerate both of our Institutes’ work across the full spectrum of risks, whether to our national security or to our broader society,” said Raimondo.

According to the UK Secretary of State for Science, Innovation, and Technology, Michelle Donelan, not only does the agreement represent a landmark moment for the two countries, but it also deepens the ‘enduring special relationship [between the UK and US] to address the defining technology challenge of our generation’.

Building from a solid scientific foundation, it is hoped this partnership will enhance AI safety and improve the safe implementation of AI tools. The step towards international collaboration on complex questions of safe AI testing intends to provide useful for other countries seeking best practice advice, but for a truly effective AI safety model to be established a more expansive global effort is required.

“The UK-US MoU is focused specifically on managing the risks that could emerge from the operation of the most advanced AI models in the pipeline, but while the agreement is welcome, businesses would benefit from more international cooperation around issues such as standards and on levels of assurance..,” said Sarah Cameron, Legal Director at law firm Pinsent Masons.

Due to the nature of AI, it is possible nations that do not have an effective AI safety model in place can have a negative impact across the world through the risks caused by rogue AI solutions.

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Written by Thu 4 Apr 2024

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