The UK has pledged £38 million to fund artificial intelligence (AI) projects around the world, starting with Africa.
The commitment is part of an £80 million collaboration between Britain, Canada and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to promote “safe and responsible” programming, the Foreign Office said.
Unveiled on the first day of the AI Safety Summit, the initiative will include investment in postgraduate AI research skills in Nigeria.
It would aim to contribute to at least eight AI labs at African universities, seeking to help make the continent’s countries “influential in the global AI debate”, the department said.
The UK has pledged £38 million, while Canada’s International Development Research Center has pledged £20.5 million and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged £24.7 million. .
The group will coordinate with African partners and technology companies, including Microsoft, to build a common vision for AI development, the Foreign Ministry said.
The plans will be announced at the government’s AI summit at Bletchley Park, where representatives from countries including China, Germany, France and the United States are expected to meet from Wednesday.
Government leaders including US President Joe Biden are not attending, but Downing Street has denied the event is being snubbed by world leaders.
It is understood that Elon Musk will be in attendance, although it is unclear whether it will be in person or virtually.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said: “The transformative power of AI should have global benefit. AI can improve lives around the world, including helping to develop new treatments for disease and combating food insecurity.
“The AI for Development programme, alongside the AI Safety Summit in Britain this week, is a demonstration of how we and our partners will use cutting-edge technology to create a fairer and more prosperous future.
Eliud Owallo, Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Information, Communications and Digital Economy, said: “This partnership will benefit all countries and ensure that developing countries are not left behind in the digital revolution. AI. »
Paula Ingabire, Rwanda’s Minister of Information Technology, Communication and Innovation, said: “This collaborative initiative is of critical importance as it enables African countries to become producers, not just consumers. , in the AI revolution, ensuring that we are at the forefront of shaping our own future and driving sustainable progress across the continent.
Mark Suzman, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said: “The commitments announced today underscore the importance of supporting locally-led innovation to ensure AI can be used by communities around the world. whole as a powerful and equitable tool for good. »
François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Minister of Science, Innovation and Industry, said: “International collaboration is essential to ensure that AI is used safely and responsibly around the world.
“Our government is committed to working with like-minded partners and innovators to harness the potential of AI for sustainable economic development, consistent with global efforts to develop and use AI safely and responsibly.