Can Britain play a leading role in global AI governance?

London 3rd July 2023

I have recently attended a panel debate at the Chatham House partially inspired by Tony’s Blair’s Institute on Global Governance. He presented a case for Britain to play a major role in governing AI, although his own Institute provides in its key policy document “A New National Purpose” a rather dim view on the current state of AI in the UK. For example, the UK contributes only 1.3% of the aggregate computing power of the Top 500 supercomputers, less than Finland and Italy, and was the only leading nation to record a decline in AI publications last year.

A significant part of the debate at the Chatham House focused on the forthcoming global AI summit to be held in London this autumn. While there are only a few details about the conference agenda, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced in early June, after a meeting with President Biden, that Britain aims to play a global role in AI to ensure its immense benefits while prioritizing safety.

For Rishi Sunak, establishing the most powerful AI agency in London could be one of the milestones in restoring Britain’s position as a truly global power after Brexit. However, the challenge lies in the fact that there already exists an agency in Paris responsible for global AI regulation called the Global AI Partnership (GPAI), with 46 countries, including the US, the UK, and the EU. Therefore, the need to create yet another global AI agency is not immediately apparent. So, what role could Britain play in delivering safe AI?

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Tony Czarnecki, Managing Partner, Sustensis