‘Guardrails’ will be put in place to regulate growth of AI, vows Sunak

Rishi Sunak has insisted that “guardrails” will be put in place so the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) can be reaped while minimising the risks to society.

The Prime Minister said the UK’s regulation must evolve alongside the rapid advance of AI, with threats including to jobs and disinformation.

His comments came as BT Group said it will cut up to 55,000 jobs by the end of the decade amid plans to shift to AI and automated services.

Mr Sunak has advocated the technology’s benefits for national security and the economy, but growing concerns have been raised with the prominence of the ChatGPT bot.

Former Government chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance has said AI could have a comparable impact on jobs to the industrial revolution.

Earlier this month, Geoffrey Hinton, the man widely seen as the godfather of AI, warned some of the dangers of AI chatbots are “quite scary” as he quit his job at Google.

Speaking to journalists travelling with him in Japan, Mr Sunak said he expects his discussions with world leaders on AI to carry on at the G7 summit in Hiroshima.

“If it’s used safely, if it’s used securely, obviously there are benefits from artificial intelligence for growing our economy, for transforming our society, improving public services,” he said.

“But, as I say, that has to be done safely and securely, and with guardrails in place, and that has been our regulatory approach.”

His comments mark a hardening in tone towards AI.

The Government’s policy paper on the technology published less than two months ago was titled “A pro-innovation approach to AI regulation”.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “There’s a recognition that AI is a problem that can’t be solved by any one country acting unilaterally.

“The UK’s approach is meant to be nimble and iterative because of the nature of AI.

“The starting point for us is safety and reassuring the public they can have the confidence in how AI is being used on their behalf.”