UK Government Seeks Counsel from AI Experts for Frontier AI Taskforce
The UK government has appointed AI and national security experts to advise its Frontier AI Taskforce.
The external advisory board includes Turing Prize Laureate Yoshua Bengio and former OpenAI researcher Paul Christiano.
The Taskforce has partnered with American-based companies ‘Trail of Bits’ and ‘ARC Evals’ to access information on the cybersecurity and national security implications of Foundation Models.
The UK government today announced that it has appointed AI industry experts to the external advisory board of its Frontier AI Taskforce.
This task force, formerly known as the Foundation Model Taskforce, has been renamed with a sharp focus on ‘Frontier AI,’ especially systems that could pose significant risks to public safety and global security.
In its first progress report published today, the Taskforce outlined key appointments and partnerships including Alex van Someren, the UK’s Chief Scientific Adviser for National Security.
Assembling an Expert Dream Team
Since its launch 11 weeks ago, the Taskforce said it has recruited a team of seven industry experts to guide the taskforce. In addition, the UK government has made a number of standout additions to its newly-formed External Advisory Board.
They are Turing Prize Laureate Yoshua Bengio, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) Director Anne Keast-Butler, and former OpenAI researcher Paul Christiano.
Bengio is a Canadian computer scientist most known for his work on artificial neural networks and deep learning. He is also a professor at the Department of Computer Science and Operations Research at the Université de Montréal and scientific director of the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms.
“The safe and responsible development of AI is an issue which concerns all of us. We have seen massive investment into improving AI capabilities, but not nearly enough investment into protecting the public, whether in terms of AI safety research or in terms of governance to make sure that AI is developed for the benefit of all,”remarked Bengio.
Yarin Gal, an Oxford academic, has been appointed as the Taskforce Research Director. Cambridge academic David Kreuger will be joining him in a consultative capacity. Together, they will spearhead research efforts aimed at understanding and mitigating frontier AI risks, including cyber-attacks.
“These new appointments are a huge vote of confidence in our status as a flagbearer for AI safety as we take advantage of the enormous wealth of knowledge we have both at home and abroad,” said Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan.
According to a press release, these government-appointed experts will be joined by hundreds of technical recruits from the AI sector.
Leading AI companies, including Anthropic, DeepMind, and OpenAI, have also pledged their support by providing extensive access to their AI models, ensuring that researchers have the necessary tools to assess AI risks comprehensively.
The Taskforce plans to continue recruiting industry experts in the coming weeks.
Towards the AI Safety Summit
The UK will host the inaugural global AI Safety Summit on November 1-2 at Bletchley Park, where international consensus on AI safety will be discussed.
In the months ahead, the Taskforce will expand its capabilities to fulfill its broader objectives. These include identifying new applications for AI in the public sector and bolstering the UK’s AI capabilities.
“With the upcoming global AI Safety Summit and the Frontier AI Taskforce, the UK government has taken greatly needed leadership in advancing international coordination on AI, especially on the question of risks and safety,” noted Yoshua Bengio, highlighting the significance of the Taskforce’s role in the global context.
The Frontier AI Taskforce, announced by the Prime Minister in April, has received £100 million in funding to advance the safe and reliable development of frontier AI models.
Ian Hogarth, Chair of the Frontier AI Taskforce, emphasized that their work aims to ensure the responsible development of foundation models while strengthening the UK’s AI sector.
The Taskforce has also partnered with American organizations such as ‘Trail of Bits’ and ‘ARC Evals’ to gain insights into cybersecurity and national security implications associated with foundation models.
Furthermore, it is working with The Center for AI Safety and The Collective Intelligence Project to address AI development and risk-related areas.
The Frontier AI Taskforce is still recruiting people with diverse skills and backgrounds to support its AI safety research programme. Those interested can apply here.
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