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Turing Prize laureate and GCHQ boss join Sunak’s AI taskforce

Rishi Sunak’s Government is continuing its focus on artificial intelligence (AI), with a Turing Prize Laureate and the GCHQ joining a new taskforce.

The Prime Minister announced in April that the Government would invest £100 million in a taskforce on AI, as part of a drive to make the UK a world leader in the rapidly growing field.

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology said that the body would now focus on so-called “frontier AI” models, with a particular focus on any systems that could pose a risk to public safety and global security.

It comes as Turing Prize Laureate Yoshua Bengio and GCHQ director Anne Keast-Butler were named among the members of a new external advisory board.

The Department said that members were chosen after a “robust due diligence” process.

Mr Bengio, a world-leading computer scientist and global expert on AI, has been among those to have called for the rapidly developed technology to be regulated.

Alex Van Someren, the chief scientific adviser for national security, as well as deputy national security adviser Matt Collins, also join the board.

The coming months are expected to see the taskforce look at how AI could be used in the public sector, as well as boosting the UK’s own capabilities.

Mr Bengio praised UK leadership on the issue, ahead of Mr Sunak’s planned AI summit in November.

“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,” he said.

Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan said that the appointments were “huge vote of confidence in our status as a flagbearer for AI safety”.