Department of Commerce announces US, UK AI safety partnership

AI safety bodies in the U.S. and the U.K. will work together on AI safety research, evaluations and guidance under partnership.
Britain's Science, Innovation and Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan (R) greets U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo during the U.K. Artificial Intelligence (AI) Safety Summit at Bletchley Park, in central England, on Nov. 1, 2023. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

The U.S. and U.K. on Monday signed an agreement to have their AI safety institutes work together on research, evaluations and guidance, furthering the Biden administration’s commitment to work with other countries on regulating the technology.

Under a memorandum of understanding signed by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and U.K. Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan, both countries will work “to align their scientific approaches” and “accelerate and rapidly iterate robust suites of evaluations for AI models, systems, and agents,” according to a release from the Department of Commerce. The agreement is effective immediately.

“Our partnership makes clear that we aren’t running away from these concerns – we’re running at them,” Raimondo said in a statement. “Because of our collaboration, our Institutes will gain a better understanding of AI systems, conduct more robust evaluations, and issue more rigorous guidance.”

The announcement comes as the Biden administration has emphasized its desire to work with other countries on AI. The administration’s October executive order on the technology, for example, directed the Department of Commerce to establish international AI frameworks.  


AI safety institutes from both countries have plans to create “a common approach to AI safety testing.” They also plan to conduct “at least one joint testing exercise on a publicly accessible model” and “tap into a collective pool of expertise by exploring personnel exchanges between the Institutes,” according to the release. 

The Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology houses the AI Safety Institute in the U.S. That body got its leadership and launched a consortium with participation from over 200 stakeholders in February. 

Partnering with the U.K. likely isn’t the end of the collaboration. According to Commerce’s announcement, the two countries “have also committed to develop similar partnerships with other countries to promote AI safety across the globe.”

“We have always been clear that ensuring the safe development of AI is a shared global issue,” the U.K.’s Donelan said. “Only by working together can we address the technology’s risks head on and harness its enormous potential to help us all live easier and healthier lives.”

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