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UK must seize opportunities of AI to remain a tech capital – PM Sunak


LONDON (Reuters) – Britain must act quickly to remain a tech capital, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will tell tech leaders on Monday, urging them to grasp the opportunities and challenges of artificial intelligence.

Sunak, speaking at the start of London Tech Week, will say the “tectonic plates of technology are shifting”.

“We must act – and act quickly – if we want not only to retain our position as one of the world’s tech capitals … but to go even further, and make this the best country in the world to start, grow and invest in tech businesses,” Sunak will say, according to advance extracts released by his office.

“That is my goal. And I feel a sense of urgency and responsibility to make sure we seize it.”

Governments around the world are now trying to find a balance whereby they can assess and rein in some of the potential negative consequences of AI without stifling innovation.

Britain in March opted to split regulatory responsibility for AI between those bodies that oversee human rights, health and safety, and competition, rather than creating a new body dedicated to the technology.

Sunak will say the tech sector is at the heart of his priority to grow the economy and outline how the government will work with businesses to capitalise on opportunities presented by transformative technologies, such as AI, which proponents have compared with the arrival of the internet.

During a visit to Washington last week, Sunak said Britain would host a global summit on artificial intelligence safety later this year to consider the risks of AI and discuss how they can be mitigated through internationally coordinated action.

“The possibilities are extraordinary. But we must – and we will – do it safely,” he will say on Monday. “I want to make the UK not just the intellectual home, but the geographical home of global AI safety regulation.”

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Sharon Singleton)

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