artificial intelligence
The UK announced a significant investment of over £1 million in a pioneering fund named the Complex Risk Analytics Fund (CRAF'd). Pixabay

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, delivered a visionary address at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), outlining how Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be harnessed to amplify the impact of international development efforts and ensure a safer future for AI technology.

The comprehensive UK initiative includes the 'AI for Development' programme, a multimillion-pound investment and the forthcoming UK-hosted AI Safety Summit.

In a powerful speech at UNGA, Foreign Secretary Cleverly emphasised the UK's commitment to leveraging AI technology for the benefit of the world's most disadvantaged nations. He called on international partners to join forces in an ambitious effort to accelerate AI development in Africa and advance progress towards the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The cornerstone of the UK's commitment is the launch of the "AI for Development" programme. In collaboration with Canada's International Development Research Centre, this programme is poised to transform the AI landscape in developing countries, initially focusing on Africa. It aims to cultivate local AI skills, foster innovation and enhance computing capabilities, closing the technological gap and empowering regions in dire need of such advancements.

This announcement coincides with the UK's role in co-convening an event focused on AI during the UNGA. Chaired by the United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, this session brought together government officials, technology firms and non-governmental organisations to explore the pivotal role AI can play in accelerating progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals - a series of global targets designed to create a healthier, fairer and more prosperous world by 2030.

In a further demonstration of its commitment to harnessing AI's potential, the UK announced a significant investment of over £1 million in a pioneering fund named the Complex Risk Analytics Fund (CRAF'd).

Developed in collaboration with international partners, the CRAF'd is designed to tap into the power of AI to predict and prevent conflicts and humanitarian crises before they occur. Moreover, it will provide rapid responses to emergencies and aid countries in their recovery, ultimately promoting sustainable development.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly highlighted the vast opportunities presented by AI, emphasising its role in expediting drug discovery, advancing healthcare treatments and predicting food insecurity, among other applications. He stressed the UK's commitment to ensuring that AI's immense potential is shared globally and called for a unified global approach to harness the opportunities AI offers in addressing humanity's common challenges.

Julie Delahanty, President of the International Development Research Centre, said: "IDRC is pleased to announce a new collaboration with FCDO, a key ally in tackling the most pressing development challenges."

She continued: "The AI for Development programme will build on existing partnerships, leveraging AI's capacity to reduce inequalities, address poverty, improve food systems, confront the challenges of climate change and make education more inclusive, while also mitigating risks."

This investment is part of the UK's broader commitment to utilising AI innovation to address global challenges, including the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Upcoming UK-hosted AI Safety Summit

Building on the momentum of its commitments at UNGA, the United Kingdom is set to host the first major global AI Safety Summit on November 1st and 2nd at Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire. This historic summit aims to facilitate a global consensus on the rapid international actions required to advance AI safety, ensuring that the technology evolves responsibly and safely.

The UK government's unwavering commitment to advancing AI technology for international development and safety is underscored by its partnership with Germany, the United States, the Netherlands, the European Commission and Finland in investing in the CRAF'd. This collaboration, in conjunction with the United Nations, exemplifies the shared global effort to harness the power of AI for the greater good.

The groundbreaking AI initiatives unveiled at UNGA signal a new era of international cooperation and innovation, where AI is poised to accelerate progress towards a sustainable, equitable and safer future for all.