Rishi Sunak, UK prime minister, will on Thursday announce that Britain will this autumn host the first global summit on the regulation of artificial intelligence, after a meeting in Washington with President Joe Biden.
Sunak will tell Biden that Britain can exert leadership in establishing the “guardrails” for the new technology and will host the meeting to discuss how internationally co-ordinated regulation can mitigate risk.
Downing Street said the summit would bring together political and industry leaders from “like-minded countries”, but China is likely to be excluded. “Invitations will be sent out at the appropriate time,” Sunak’s spokesperson said.
Sunak will on Thursday hold talks with Biden about enhancing “economic security”, including a likely deal between the US and UK on developing supply chains in vital sectors, such as critical minerals, to bypass China.
The prime minister will also discuss with Biden the need to arm Ukraine for “years into the future”, arguing that “longer-term security arrangements and agreements” would have to be put in place to defend the country from Russian aggression.
“We want to make sure that Ukraine cannot just defend itself today, but for years into the future,” he told the BBC. “That will also act as a deterrent to Russia for aggression and convince it that there is no point in persisting with this illegal and unprovoked war.”
The AI meeting is a British initiative, taking place alongside the G7’s “Hiroshima AI framework”, which has been set up to co-ordinate global regulation of the new sector. The EU and US are also holding their own talks on AI regulation.
Speaking on a visit to Washington, Sunak bristled at a question about whether a midsize country such as Britain could hope to lead a debate that is already engaging political leaders in the US and the EU.
“That midsize country happens to be a global leader in AI,” Sunak said. “You would be hard pressed to find many other countries other than the US in the western world with more expertise and talent in AI. We are the natural place to lead the conversation.”
Last month, the prime minister met the bosses of OpenAI, Google DeepMind and Anthropic to discuss a regulatory framework for the new technology, claiming that only the EU and UK had held such talks.
Sunak received a boost when US tech company Palantir announced it would expand its UK operations as its “European hub” for AI development. It already employs more than 800 people in Britain.
Sunak added: “Historically the UK has got it right when we are trying to balance innovation with making sure the new technology is safe for society. We have a good track record getting that balance right.”
The two leaders will also discuss joint efforts to build economic security against the threat of China, but said that protectionism and a “zero sum” subsidy race was not the way to achieve it.
He hopes that Biden will cut Britain a deal under the $369bn US Inflation Reduction Act, previously denounced by British ministers as “protectionist”, so that UK suppliers of critical minerals in the US supply chain can benefit from the subsidies.
On Wednesday, Sunak laid a wreath at Arlington cemetery, met senior US political figures on Capitol Hill, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, and attended a Washington Nationals baseball game.
On Thursday, ahead of meeting Biden, Sunak will try to drum up business at a roundtable of chief executives, including David Solomon of Goldman Sachs, Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase and Kathy Warden of Northrop Grumman.
But Sunak said he would not be meeting former US president Donald Trump in Washington, saying that he had a “pretty busy schedule”. He added: “I’m meeting key congressional leaders from both sides and obviously the president.”
In common with previous attempts to cement the US-UK relationship, great attention is given by both sides to the mutual exchange of gifts between the two leaders.
Downing Street said that Sunak would present Biden with a personalised Barbour jacket, made in South Shields, with the words “Mr President” embroidered on it.
For his part, Biden will offer Sunak a book written by his possible ancestor Christopher Biden on discipline on merchant ships in the mid-19th century, a tome containing some rigorous solutions to the threat of disorder on board.