As the UK’s second AI Safety Summit begins on Tuesday (20 May). This time co-hosted in Seoul, enterprises and experts are wondering what new insights will be revealed at the event. Just six months since the last summit, AI has developed at a rapid rate.

According to GlobalData forecasts, the overall AI market will be worth $909bn (£712.25bn) by 2030, registering a compound annual growth rate of 35% between 2022 and 2030.

Eleanor Lightbody, CEO of legal AI-copilot company Luminance, notes this year’s summit has garnered less attention than last year’s summit, and suggests that the “hype” around AI may be dying down.

Despite this, Lightbody claims there is still a significant amount of work left to do if the UK wants to fulfil Rish Sunak’s vision of becoming an AI hub of innovation. Verdict spoke to Lightbody about what enterprises are hoping to see at this year’s AI Safety Summit.

Why do you think the AI Seoul Safety Summit has received less attention this time around?

While this summit was always designed to be a smaller gathering ahead of the in-person meeting in Paris later in the year, I think the shift in attention is a reflective of a shift in perceptions around AI. It’s becoming more normalised in our society, and some of the initial scaremongering has begun to die down. I think we are now starting to see more focus on how AI is actually being used today and its tangible benefits. This transition from theory to practice should be reflected in the discussion at this month’s summit.

What do companies want/need to see from this year’s summit?

These summits should serve as an opportunity to hear from a variety of voices in the AI sector, not just the Big Tech companies we hear about in the news. Indeed, these companies have skin in the game and can’t be expected to mark their own homework. While larger AI companies may be able to quickly adjust to regulations, smaller AI companies may not have that ability. That’s why incorporating AI start-ups and scale-ups in conversations about AI is incredibly important.

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It’s also important to recognise that AI regulation cannot be a one size fits all approach. For example, the biggest block to the progression of autonomous vehicles is the legal and insurance framework around them, not the technology. In sectors such as law and professional services where accuracy is paramount, avoiding the risks of hallucinations associated with generalist models is key.

What are the current roadblocks to AI regulation in the UK?

AI is a complex technology that is being developed at a rapid pace, making regulation extremely difficult. I think the UK should see this as an opportunity rather than a drawback. As a leader in tech and home to some of the world’s most prestigious academic institutions and AI companies, the UK is poised to lead the way in regulation. But this means starting to draft legislation now. The EU’s AI Act took years to draft, and it still has not been passed. For the UK to be a leader in AI regulation, the government, academics and AI companies must come together and put pen to paper on agile, pro-innovation regulation.

What do you mean by AI washing? How widespread do you believe it is?

Off the back of the AI “hype,” many companies are exaggerating their use of AI – this is known as AI-washing, and it is becoming an increasingly important issue. The implications are potentially significant, particularly for buyers in the market who are already finding it difficult to separate the hype from reality. In March, we saw the SEC impose a $400,000 fine on a company found to be making misleading claims about their AI services. The US Federal Trade Commission also issued a warning that companies were beginning to make fake AI claims in their advertising and marketing materials. The US is clearly focusing on this phenomenon, so other countries need to be looking at it too – the UK should not be left behind on this front. The summit provides an excellent forum to raise this issue and how regulators plan to tackle it.

What does the UK need to do to grow as a hub of innovation alongside the US?

We already have a thriving tech ecosystem, but we must focus on fostering an environment in which tech companies will not just begin their journey in the UK but also mature here. The UK has a storied history of university spin-outs and an extremely talented workforce, but we need the capital to back these companies to ensure they’re able to grow and stay in the UK. Furthermore, our partnerships with the US and South Korea provide effective channels for the development and regulation of AI and place us in an optimal position to be a leading voice on AI. The UK should consider expanding these partnerships in order to spearhead the world’s drive towards AI development and implementation.