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US and UK Sign MoU, announce partnership for developing AI safety tests

Safety institutes from the two countries intend to perform at least one joint testing exercise on a publicly accessible model, and explore personnel exchanges between the institutes.

The United States and United Kingdom have announced a partnership on the science of Artificial Intelligence (AI) safety, which will see them jointly develop safety tests for advanced AI models. U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and UK Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at Washington on April 1st, as part of which the US and UK AI Safety Institutes will collaborate on research, evaluation and guidance for AI safety. They intend to perform at least one joint testing exercise on a publicly accessible model and explore personnel exchanges between the institutes. Both countries will work on a common approach towards AI testing, 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.

The United Kingdom had hosted the first ever AI Safety Summit in November last year, which featured high-profile attendees from various nations, multilateral organisations, corporations and research institutes. Jurisdictions across the world have begun to regulate AI, purportedly as a way to mitigate risks associated with the technology. In October last year, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order requiring developers to share safety test results with the US government before launching them. The Biden administration also revealed last week that federal agencies would have ‘Chief AI Officers’ who were responsible for the safe deployment and administration of AI systems. India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), had released a controversial advisory a month ago, requiring government approval for ‘undertested’ AI models before they could be used by Indians.

At the same time, the United Nations General Assembly has adopted a resolution on ‘safe, secure and trustworthy’ AI usage, that respects human rights and freedoms. The EU also passed a landmark AI Act, which regulated AI systems on the basis of their potential for harm. These developments show a global trend towards AI regulation revolving around harm mitigation and government approval.

Note: The headline was edited to fix a typographical error on 02/04/2024 at 17:44 pm.

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