Brian Sims
Editor

UK and US herald partnership agreement on “science of AI safety”

THE UK and US have agreed on a Memorandum of Understanding which will see the nations working together to develop tests for the most advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) models, in turn putting into practice commitments made at the AI Safety Summit held last November.

Signed by Michelle Donelan (Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology) and US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, the Memorandum of Understanding will see both countries working closely to align their scientific approaches and accelerate – and rapidly iterate – robust suites of evaluations for AI models, systems and agents alike.

The UK and US AI Safety Institutes have laid out plans to build a common approach to AI safety testing and to share their capabilities to ensure the risk landscape can be tackled effectively. They intend to perform at least one joint testing exercise on a publicly accessible model. What’s more, they also plan to tap into a collective pool of expertise by exploring personnel exchanges between the respective Institutes.

The partnership will take effect immediately and is intended to allow both organisations to work seamlessly with one another. AI continues to develop rapidly, and both national Governments recognise the need to act now in order to ensure a shared approach to AI safety which can keep pace with the technology’s emerging risks.

As the countries strengthen their partnership on AI safety, they’ve also committed to develop similar partnerships with other nations in order to promote AI safety right across the globe.

Landmark moment

Speaking about the Memorandum of Understanding, Michelle Donelan 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.”   

Donelan continued: “We’ve 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, in parallel, harness its enormous potential to help us all live easier and healthier lives.”

Further, Donelan noted: “The work of our two nations in driving forward AI safety will strengthen the foundations we laid at Bletchley Park last November. I have no doubt that our shared expertise will continue to pave the way for countries tapping into AI’s enormous benefits both safely and responsibly.”

Gina Raimondo responded: “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 posed to our national security or to our broader society. Our partnership makes clear that we are not running away from these concerns. Rather, we’re running towards them. By virtue of this collaboration, our Institutes will gain a better understanding of AI systems, conduct more robust evaluations and issue more rigorous guidance.”

Raimondo concluded: “By working together, we are furthering the long-lasting special relationship between the US and the UK, as well as laying the groundwork to ensure that we’re keeping AI safe both now and into the future.”

Vital information

The UK and the US have always been clear that ensuring the safe development of AI is a shared global issue.

Reflecting the importance of ongoing international collaboration, the announcement will also see both countries sharing vital information about the capabilities and risks associated with AI models and systems, as well as fundamental technical research on AI safety and security.

This will work to underpin a common approach towards AI safety testing, allowing researchers on both sides of the Atlantic – and, indeed, across the globe – to coalesce around a common scientific foundation.

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