Comment on the UK Government's National AI Strategy

23 September 2021

We are pleased to see the UK Government set out its National AI Strategy. 

AI is a transformative technology, with the potential to bring significant benefits to the UK. It is encouraging to see issues such as trustworthy AI, diversity in the workforce, and representation of views from across society at the forefront of the strategy. 

It is particularly pleasing to see the strategy highlight the need for rigorous thinking on the longer term challenges that AI will likely pose. Any transformative technology may pose unprecedented risks as well as benefits; the Government is taking a leadership position by recognising its responsibility to anticipate and manage these risks. It should be commended for doing so. 

The Government has made important commitments around horizon scanning, progress monitoring, AI safety research and boosting compute capacity for academics. It must now back up these commitments with required funding in the upcoming Spending Review. 

We are delighted that the Government has committed to working with leading researchers to help safely advance AI and mitigate catastrophic risks. As researchers at two of the UK’s leading institutions in this space, CSER and FHI, we are here to support efforts in this direction however we can.

Dr Seán Ó hÉigeartaigh, Executive Director, Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, University of Cambridge
Dr Toby Ord, Senior Research Fellow, Future of Humanity Institute, University of Oxford

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