Ian Hogarth, a renowned tech entrepreneur, investor, and AI specialist, has been appointed as the chair of the UK Government’s Foundation Model Taskforce. This taskforce has been established to lead essential AI safety research and facilitate the responsible development of Foundation Models, while also seizing the tremendous opportunities they offer. The Taskforce, similar to the successful Vaccine Taskforce, operates with agility and delegated authority, backed initially by £100 million of government funding.
Ian Hogarth brings a wealth of experience to this role, being a leading authority on AI. He has co-authored the annual State of AI report since 2018, providing valuable insights into the progress of AI. Ian is also a visiting professor at University College London and has a strong background in tech entrepreneurship as the founder of start-up Songkick and the venture capital fund Plural. His commercial experience and extensive connections in the AI sector make him well-suited to developing this technology responsibly, aligning with the government’s AI strategy and the recently launched AI White Paper.
Under Ian’s leadership, the Taskforce will prioritize cutting-edge safety research leading up to the first global summit on AI safety, scheduled to be hosted in the UK later this year. The Taskforce aims to bring together expertise from government, industry, and academia to assess the risks associated with AI. It will conduct research on AI safety and contribute to the development of international guardrails, including shared safety and security standards and infrastructure, to address these risks.
Ian Hogarth expressed his honor at chairing this mission, recognizing the UK’s significant contributions to AI throughout history and the need to allocate sufficient resources to AI safety. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak emphasized the importance of ensuring AI develops safely and responsibly, acknowledging Ian as a leading figure in UK tech and praising his leadership in the taskforce. The government has initially allocated £100 million to establish the Foundation Model Taskforce, capitalizing on the opportunities presented by advanced AI systems and advancing their safety and reliability.
The Taskforce aims to strengthen the UK’s leadership in AI and provide trustworthy tools for British individuals and businesses to benefit from the transformative potential of artificial intelligence. Leveraging the country’s existing strengths in AI safety, research, and development, the Taskforce will address the unique safety challenges posed by foundation models. Its work will be crucial in harnessing the opportunities of AI while building public confidence in its application. AI companies have committed to giving the Taskforce early or priority access to models for research and safety purposes, enabling better evaluations and understanding of the risks and opportunities associated with these systems.
The upcoming global AI safety summit, scheduled for later this year, will provide an opportunity for leading nations, industry experts, and academia to collaborate on risk assessments, research possibilities, and the development of shared safety and security standards and infrastructure. The UK is well-positioned to lead the international effort on AI safety, as acknowledged by President Biden.
In addition to his appointment as the chair of the Foundation Model Taskforce, Ian Hogarth’s extensive experience and expertise make him an ideal candidate for this crucial role. His role as a co-author of the annual State of AI report since 2018 showcases his deep understanding of the field and his ability to navigate its complexities. As a visiting professor at University College London, Ian brings academic insights to the taskforce, fostering collaboration between academia and industry.
The Taskforce’s primary objective is to advance cutting-edge safety research to ensure the responsible development of Foundation Models. By addressing risks associated with AI and establishing international safety and security standards, the Taskforce aims to mitigate potential dangers while maximizing the benefits of this groundbreaking technology.
Operating with the agility and authority demonstrated by the successful Vaccine Taskforce, Ian and his team have the necessary empowerment to make critical decisions promptly. The initial £100 million in government funding allocated to the Taskforce reflects the UK government’s commitment to advancing AI safety and reliability.
As the chair of the Foundation Model Taskforce, Ian Hogarth expressed his deep gratitude for the opportunity to lead this mission. He highlighted the UK’s historical contributions to AI and the urgent need to bolster AI safety efforts. The upcoming global AI safety summit, to be hosted in the UK, will provide a platform for collaboration among leading nations, industry experts, and academia, further solidifying the UK’s leadership in this critical field.