The announcement comes ahead of the AI Safety Summit taking place later this week 

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced that taxpayer spending on AI chips and supercomputers is set to increase to £400 million as part of efforts to make the UK a global technological player. 

The announcement comes just days before the AI Safety Summit is set to be held this week at Bletchley Park, where Rishi Sunak will present the UK as a worldwide hub for AI safety. 

The summit will be attended by international governments, AI businesses, and research firms to discuss the risks of AI and how they can be mitigated. It is hoped attending governments will sign a commitment to join an international research network covering “frontier” AI systems, like ChatGPT. 

“With the combined strength of our international partners, thriving AI industry and expert academic community, we can secure the rapid international action we need for the safe and responsible development of AI around the world,” said Sunak in a Telegraph report. 

According to this report, it is likely that the £400 million investment will come out of a £900 million package that was previously reserved for the AI Research Resource and an “exascale” supercomputer in Edinburgh.  

Of this total, £50 million was initially dedicated to AI-related research. However, the rapid advances in AI technology  has led to increasing concerns surrounding the abuse of its technology, seemingly warranting the increase research expenditure.. 

Back in September, the UK government announced the construction of a new AI Research Resource (AIRR), named Isambard-AI, which will be one of Europe’s most powerful supercomputers and will form part of the funding. 

The AIRR will be hosted at Bristol University and will be installed later this year. 

“The UK AI Research Resource – which will include the new Isambard-AI supercomputer we announced last month – will support critical research into the safe development and use of AI,” said a government spokesperson. 

“This is in line with our commitment to supporting a thriving computer environment which maintains the UK’s position as a leader across science, innovation and technology. Delivery of AIRR is subject to an ongoing commercial process.” 

“The Isambard-AI cluster will be one of the most powerful supercomputers in Europe, and will help industry experts and researchers harness the game-changing potential of AI, including through the mission-critical work of our Frontier AI Taskforce,” said Michelle Donelan, Science, Innovation and Technology Secretary. 

The AI Safety Summit will take on 1-2 November at Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire. 

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