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UK to receive priority access to AI models from Google and OpenAI

The U.K. has edged past its competition to be the leading artificial intelligence (AI) hub after top AI firms agreed to provide the country with priority access for their future AI models.

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak disclosed the milestone in his opening speech at the London Tech Week, reiterating his commitment to ensuring the country remains competitive when it comes to AI developments. Under the new arrangement, the U.K. will have access to AI models from Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL), OpenAI, and Anthropic before other regions, signaling the government’s push into innovative technologies.

However, the Prime Minister’s speech did not disclose the exact nature of the priority access or whether access will be open to the general public or a small pool of priority researchers. 

“We’re working with the frontier labs — Google DeepMind, OpenAI and Anthropic. And I’m pleased to announce they’ve committed to give early or priority access to models for research and safety purposes to help build better evaluations and help us better understand the opportunities and risks of these systems,” Sunak said. 

Sunak also unveiled a three-pronged process for ensuring the safe use of AI technologies within the country’s borders. The first arm of his strategy is implementing “cutting edge safety research” spearheaded by a newly minted AI expert taskforce.

Pointing out the borderless nature of AI, Sunak told attendees that the second prong would focus on fostering collaboration between countries for a global regulatory framework. Sunak revealed that the U.K. will host the inaugural Summit on AI Safety before the end of the year.

“I want to make the UK not just the intellectual home but the geographical home, of global AI safety regulation,” said Sunak.

The U.K. government is under pressure to float regulatory guidelines for using innovative technologies like AI and distributed ledger technology (DLT), with opposition MP Lucy Powell calling for an “interventionist government approach.”

Already miles ahead of the pack

The third arm of the U.K.’s global strategy hinges on the desire to “seize the extraordinary potential of AI to improve people’s lives.” He cited several initiatives in both health and education designed to assist patients to get quicker diagnoses and save man hours.

Sunak stated that combining AI with the “computational power of quantum” could be key in discovering cures for cancer and dementia. With Google’s AI division nestled in the U.K., Sunak is confident that the country will lead in AI development over the next decade.

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