Today around 120 representatives from leading AI companies, academics, and civil society representatives taking place at Bletchley Park, the Second World War home of Britain’s codebreaking geniuses who decrypted secret Nazi messages. Focusing on those risks, rather than the existential risks of a superintelligent AI.
This morning Michelle Donelan MP for Chippenham, and Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology welcomed heads of state, industry voices & civil society to the AI Safety Summit. AI has the power to revolutionise the way we live. However, it does come with risks. We must ensure AI is developed responsibly so that it can become a force for good.
Prof Gina Neff, who runs an AI centre at the University of Cambridge said: “We’re concerned about what’s going to happen to our jobs, what’s going to happen to our news, what’s going to happen to our ability to communicate with one another”.
Today the government has announced investment in the new ‘AI Research Resource’ 💻 of 2 new cutting-edge supercomputers in Cambridge and Bristol will help researchers analyse the safety of advanced AI models and drive further breakthroughs.
Local Thames Valley Police were on high alert, with mounted horses, drone units, automatic number plate recognition officers and tactical cycle units.
Ahead of the summit, Prime Minister Rishu Sunak announced a £100m investment in AI tools to research new cancer and dementia treatments – answering calls from NHS surgeons who believe they must embrace the technology.
British supercomputing to be boosted 30-fold with a new Cambridge computer and Bristol site.
The government’s Frontier AI Taskforce and leading British researchers will be equipped with cutting edge supercomputers to analyse the safety of advanced AI models, thanks to new investment in the ‘AI Research Resource’.
The tool will build and connect 2 new supercomputers across the UK, giving researchers access to resources with more than 30-times the capacity of the UK’s current largest public AI computing tools. They will be able to use the machines, which will be running from summer 2024, to analyse advanced AI models to test safety features and drive breakthroughs in drug discovery and clean energy.
The investment into the AI Research Resource has been tripled to £300 million, up from £100 million announced in March 2023, in a bid to further boost UK AI capabilities.
This will bolster Isambard-AI, which will be Britain’s most advanced computer. Based at the University of Bristol, it is set to be 10 times faster than the UK’s current quickest machine, thanks to 5,000 advanced AI chips from Nvidia in a supercomputer built by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE).
The investment will also connect Isambard-AI to a newly announced Cambridge supercomputer called ‘Dawn’. This computer – delivered through a partnership with Dell and UK SME StackHPC – will be powered by over 1000 Intel chips that use water-cooling to reduce power consumption. It is set to be running in the next 2 months and target breakthroughs in fusion energy, healthcare and climate modelling.
Chaired by Ian Hogarth, the Frontier AI Taskforce will have priority access to the connected computing tools to support its work to mitigate the risks posed by the most advanced forms of AI, including national security from the development of bioweapons and cyberattacks. The resource will also support the work of the AI Safety Institute, as it develops a programme of research looking at the safety of frontier AI models and supports government policy with this analysis.
Announcing this investment at the AI Safety Summit at Bletchley Park, Science, Innovation and Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan said:
Frontier AI models are becoming exponentially more powerful. At our AI Safety Summit in Bletchley Park, we have made it clear that Britain is grasping the opportunity to lead the world in adopting this technology safely so we can put it to work and lead healthier, easier and longer lives.
This means giving Britain’s leading researchers and scientific talent access to the tools they need to delve into how this complicated technology works. That is why we are investing in building UK’s supercomputers, making sure we cement our place as a world-leader in AI safety.
Bristol’s Isambard-AI computer, first announced in September, will be backed by a £225 million investment.
The supercomputer, 10 times faster than the UK’s current fastest machine, will deliver over 200 ‘petaflops’, meaning it can make 200,000,000,000,000,000 calculations (that’s 200 quadrillion) every second. By comparison, the newest smartphones today deliver only trillions of calculations per second, and a human would have to make a decision every second for 6.3 billion years to match what this computer can calculate in one second.