New AI Safety Institute to work with US counterparts

Ministers from the US and the UK have unveiled a transatlantic memorandum of understanding through which specialist AI safety teams will work to foster common approaches and conduct joint testing

Government’s nascent AI Safety Institute will collaborate with its counterpart agency in the US to share expertise and identify common ways of working.

Yesterday, ministers from the UK and the US unveiled a transatlantic memorandum of understanding through which the dedicated AI safety units from the respective governments will work together. This cooperation is intended to enable both parties to “align their scientific approaches and… rapidly iterate robust suites of evaluations for AI models, systems, and agents”.

The collaboration, which will begin immediately, will support “plans to build a common approach to AI safety testing”, and include “at least one joint testing exercise on a publicly accessible model”. The UK and US AI Safety Institutes also hope to “into a collective pool of expertise by exploring personnel exchanges” between the two organisations.

Michelle Donelan, secretary of state at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology – which houses the UK AISI – said: “This agreement represents a landmark moment, as the UK and the United States deepen our enduring special relationship to address the defining technology challenge of our generation. We have always been clear that ensuring the safe development of AI is a shared global issue. 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.”

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The government has characterised the UK AI Safety Institute as the “first state-backed organisation focused on advanced AI safety for the public interest”. The unit is currently in the process of recruiting its workforce, and recently advertised about 30 positions, including technical experts and senior management.

Its work with its peers in the US comes as “both governments recognise the need to act now to ensure a shared approach to AI safety which can keep pace with the technology’s emerging risks”.  The two countries are “also committed to develop similar partnerships with other countries to promote AI safety across the globe”, according to the government.

US secretary of commerce Gina Raimondo said: “AI is the defining technology of our generation. 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. Our partnership makes clear that we aren’t running away from these concerns – we’re running at them. Because of our collaboration, our. Institutes will gain a better understanding of AI systems, conduct more robust evaluations, and issue more rigorous guidance.”

Sam Trendall

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