Wednesday, September 27

Tony Blair Says Britain Can Carve Out Economic Niche as AI Hub

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(Bloomberg) — Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said Britain can carve out an economic niche as a hub for innovation in artificial intelligence, saying the AI revolution is the most important issue facing policymakers. 

“This is the biggest challenge,” Blair said on Bloomberg Television’s Wall Street Week with David Westin. “I would be reshaping the whole government agenda around it.”

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The comments come as the UK prepares to host the first global summit on AI in November, and as British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak seeks to position Britain at the forefront of global efforts to regulate the technology. On Tuesday, the UK government confirmed it invited China to the summit, against the wishes of some members of Sunak’s governing Conservative Party.

Blair, who was premier from 1997 to 2007 and was the last Labour leader to win a general election, said AI has the capacity to revolutionize public services, but politicians need to understand its opportunities and risks.

Asked about Britain’s future relationship with the European Union, Blair said there is scope for deeper cooperation in areas such as innovation, science and energy, but steered away from any imminent prospect of reversing Brexit.

“Whether we get to a stage where Britain rejoins the European Union, I think that’s for a future time,” Blair said. “Getting back in is a tricky, tricky negotiation.”

(Updates with UK confirms China invited to AI summit in the fall in third paragraph)

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