Artificial Intelligence

UK & US partner for the science of AI safety

2nd April 2024
Harry Fowle

The UK and US have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to develop AI model testing as a follow up from the AI Safety Summit.

The partnership, signed by Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan and US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, will enable the UK and the US to synchronise their scientific methods and collaborate closely. This cooperation aims to expedite the development of comprehensive evaluations for AI models, systems, and agents.

The AI Safety Institutes in the UK and the US have outlined strategies for creating a unified methodology for AI safety testing and sharing their expertise to address risks effectively. They plan to conduct at least one joint testing exercise on a model that is accessible to the public. Furthermore, they are looking to benefit from a shared pool of knowledge through potential staff exchanges between the Institutes.

This collaboration became effective immediately, facilitating seamless interaction between the two organisations. With AI evolving at a swift pace, both governments acknowledge the urgency of adopting a collective stance on AI safety to match the rapid emergence of new risks. As they fortify their alliance on AI safety, there is also a commitment to forge similar partnerships with other nations to enhance AI safety worldwide.

UK Secretary of State for Science, Innovation, and Technology, 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.  

“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.

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

United States 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.

“By working together, we are furthering the long-lasting special relationship between the U.S. and UK and laying the groundwork to ensure that we’re keeping AI safe both now and in the future.”

The UK and the United States have consistently recognised the importance of the safe development of AI as a concern that transcends borders. Highlighting the significance of continuous global cooperation, the announcement made today includes plans for both nations to exchange crucial details regarding the capabilities and risks of AI models and systems. Additionally, they will share foundational technical research on AI safety and security. This initiative aims to establish a unified methodology for AI safety testing, enabling researchers in both countries and globally to converge on a shared scientific basis.

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