The UK government’s AI Safety Institute will open its first overseas office in San Francisco this summer, Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan announced on Monday (20th May). 

The expansion will allow the UK to cement relationships with the US to advance AI safety, as well as engage with the world’s largest AI labs headquartered in both London and San Francisco.

According to the government, the office is set to open this summer and will recruit its first team of technical staff, which will be led by a research director. 

The new US office will be a complimentary branch of the institute’s London headquarters, which currently houses over 30 technical staff. 

“This expansion represents British leadership in AI in action,” Donelan said. “It is a pivotal moment in the UK’s ability to study both the risks and potential of AI from a global lens, strengthening our partnership with the US and paving the way for other countries to tap into our expertise as we continue to lead the world on AI safety.”

The UK technology department announced that AI safety continues to be a key priority for the country as it gets ready to co-host its second AI safety summit in Seoul on Tuesday (21 May).

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has consistently stressed his view that the UK needs to be at the forefront of AI innovation, while also remaining the global leader in AI safety regulation. 

“The possibilities are extraordinary, but we must – and we will – do it safely,” Sunak previously said.

However, not all of the UK government are on the same page with the country’s AI focus.

According to a February report from the House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee, the UK Government risks missing out on the economic and social benefits of AI due to its narrow view surrounding AI safety.

The committee’s report states that the UK’s narrow focus on AI safety risks losing it international influence and becoming dependent on foreign tech companies for the emerging technology. 

As AI continues to grow at a rapid pace, if the UK does not prioritise competition a small number of tech companies could take the majority of control, stifling smaller players in the market, the report states. 

“One lesson from the way technology markets have developed since the inception of the internet is the danger of market dominance by a small group of companies,” Baroness Stowell of Beeston, Chairman of the House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee, said.

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

In the GenAI space, revenues are expected to grow from $1.8bn in 2022 to $33bn in 2027 at a CAGR of 80%.