The UK government delivers £100 million in funding for a foundation model AI taskforce to promote safer artificial intelligence and increased regulation

Following a Cabinet meeting, Ministers agreed on creating an AI taskforce, to retain public confidence in the use of artificial intelligence, and increase regulation in online spaces to keep people safe, without preventing innovation.

Funding £100 million to this taskforce, the government aims to develop safe and reliable foundation models to ensure the UK is globally competitive in this strategic technology.

The AI taskforce will be built with safety and reliability at its core, in line with the approach set out in the AI Regulation White Paper published by the government previously in 2023.

What are foundation models?

Foundation models – such as large language models like ChatGPT and Google Bard – are a category of artificial intelligence systems trained on huge volumes of data such as text, images, video or audio to gain broad and sophisticated capabilities across many tasks.

Foundation models rely on significant compute power, and this investment comes on top of around £900 million for a new ‘exascale’ supercomputer and a dedicated AI Research Resource to equip the UK with the processing power it needs to support the next generation of AI innovation.

The AI taskforce will focus on opportunities to establish the UK as a world leader in foundation models and their applications across the economy and acting as a global standard bearer for AI safety.

Artificial intelligence is set to contribute billions to the UK GDP

Predicted to raise global GDP by 7% over a decade, AI will help to deliver the government’s economic priorities, as research suggests that the broad adoption of such systems could triple national productivity growth rates.

AI is predicted to raise global GDP by 7% over a decade

Generating better outcomes for people across the country, this AI will be tested on public services first to see where it can make improvements, working with the public sector to develop safety and reliability in foundation models, both at a scientific and commercial level.

For instance, in areas like healthcare, this type of AI has enormous potential to speed up diagnoses, drug discovery and development. In education, it could transform teachers’ day-to-day work, freeing up their time to focus on delivering excellent teaching.

Additionally, this AI taskforce, promoting safer AI, will also support businesses and drive trust in these systems.

The first pilots targeting public services will be launched in 2023

The first pilots targeting public services are expected to launch in the next six months.

Science, Innovation and Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan said: “Developed responsibly, cutting-edge AI can have a transformative impact in nearly every industry. It can revolutionise the way we develop new medical treatments, tackle climate change and improve our public services, all while growing and future-proofing our economy.

“We need to act now to seize the opportunities AI can offer us in the future. We’re backing our expert taskforce with the funding to make our ambitions for an AI-enabled country a reality and keep the UK at the front of the pack in this emerging technology.

“To ensure such leadership, the greatest capability we can develop is in the safety and reliability of such systems. This will ensure that the public and business have the trust they need to confidently adopt this technology and fully realise its benefits. That is exactly what this taskforce will prioritise.”


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