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AI Regulation Goes Global: PM Sunak's Proposal for a London-Based Watchdog

The potential establishment of a global artificial intelligence (AI) regulatory body headquartered in London is currently under consideration by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. The proposal comes as international concerns regarding the implications of rapidly advancing AI technology escalate. The proposed organization would serve as a worldwide watchdog for AI, analogous to the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in the realm of nuclear energy​​.

Sunak's discussions about the proposed watchdog are set to include U.S. President Joe Biden during a forthcoming meeting at the White House. The proposed entity would be patterned after the IAEA, which was founded in 1957 and currently has 176 member countries including India. The IAEA oversees nuclear energy use worldwide, promotes safety standards, and ensures that nuclear energy is not used for military purposes. In a similar vein, the AI regulatory body would monitor AI developments globally, foster safe practices, and prevent misuse of the technology​​.

It is worth noting that the consideration of this proposal is still in its early stages. However, if Sunak decides to move forward with the idea, the UK government might swiftly recruit personnel to get the agency operational. A British minister quoted in The Times suggested that the UK would be an ideal location for such a body, citing the strong presence of many leading companies in the country. The prime minister is reportedly highly aware of the need for international alignment on approaches to AI as the technology continues to evolve, aiming to harness the benefits while managing the risks associated with it​​.

This move comes at a time when the European Union (EU) is refining its Artificial Intelligence Act, which is expected to take a stringent approach to sector oversight. Meanwhile, the United States is also considering regulation, although it is expected to take a less severe stance. The global community is grappling with concerns about the safety of AI technology and its potential implications​.

While the details of the proposed AI watchdog are yet to be finalized, the move reflects a growing global consciousness about the potential risks and rewards of AI. It is a testament to the importance of international cooperation in managing emerging technologies and mitigating potential threats.

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