UK AI Safety Institute to expand to San Francisco

The UK AI Safety Institute is set to expand internationally by opening its first overseas office in San Francisco this summer, technology secretary Michelle Donelan has announced today (20 May).

The expansion will allow the UK to engage with the world’s largest AI labs headquartered in both London and San Francisco.

The office is expected to open this summer, recruiting the first team of technical staff headed up by a research director. 

By expanding its foothold in the US, the Institute plans to establish a closer collaboration with the US, furthering the country’s approach to AI safety, while also sharing research and conducting joint evaluations of AI models that can inform AI safety policy globally. 

Secretary of State for Science and Technology Michelle Donelan said: "This expansion represents British leadership in AI in action. 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 expansion comes as the Institute releases a selection of recent results from safety testing of five publicly available advanced AI models: the first government-backed organisation in the world to unveil the results of their evaluations.  

The Institute assessed AI models against four key risk areas, including how effective the safeguards that developers have installed actually are in practice. As part of the findings, they found that several models completed cyber security challenges, while struggling to complete more advanced challenges and some models demonstrate similar to PhD-level knowledge of chemistry and biology. 

AI Safety Institute Chair, Ian Hogarth said: "The results of these tests mark the first time we’ve been able to share some details of our model evaluation work with the public. 

"AI safety is still a very young and emerging field. These results represent only a small portion of the evaluation approach AISI is developing. Our ambition is to continue pushing the frontier of this field by developing state-of-the-art evaluations, with an emphasis on national security related risks."