Rishi Sunak
Rt Hon Rishi Sunak. 10 Downing Street. Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak opened London Tech Week with a rallying speech to the UK and what he described as a “moment of huge opportunity”.

“A moment like this when the tectonic plates of Technology are shifting not just in AI but in quantum, synthetic biology, semiconductors and much more we cannot rest satisfied with where we stand we must act and act quickly if we want not only to retain our position as one of the world’s Tech capitals but to go even further and make this the best country in the world to start, grow and invest in Tech businesses.

Innovation that will transform lives

He went on to say: “I believe that innovation is one of the most powerful forces for transforming people’s lives and right now there is an opportunity for human progress that could surpass the Industrial Revolution in both speed and breadth I believe the UK can achieve this goal because we start from a position of strength we’ve created 134 unicorns in the last decade – third in the world behind only the US and China.

“We’re one of the most digitally literate societies in the world with a higher percentage of STEM graduates than the US and four of the world’s top 10 universities we’ve got extraordinary strengths in fintech cyber and creative Industries and engineering biology…”

Disruption spells opportunity

Rishi Sunak talked at great length about British talent and our chance to harness the technologies of the future that would disrupt, challenge and bring prosperity.

“Life Sciences is the one that is particularly exciting. We have Europe’s biggest Life Sciences industry, we’ve got an incredible research base but you saw during the pandemic not only to be able to create a vaccine here we also had a regulator that meant that we were the first place to approve a vaccine as well and it showed that the agility that I think the UK is known for and then you combine that with the unique strengths we have with the biobank and genomic sequencing.”

AI and the mindblowing opportunities in drug development

He went on to talk about the possibilities of digital biology through AI Technologies and computational technologies that will revolutionise drug discovery and healthcare. And how that innovation will create the jobs of the future. He also reassured the audience that the UK would lead in legislation to keep AI safe.

“I know people are concerned the very pioneers of AI are warning us about the ways these Technologies could undermine our values and freedoms through to the most extreme risks of all and that’s why leading on AI also means leading on AI safety. So, we’re building a new partnership between our vibrant academia, brilliant AI companies and a government that “gets it” and we’ll do that in three ways.

The government’s three aims for tech brilliance

“First, we’re going to do cutting edge safety research here in the UK with a hundred million pounds for our expert task force we’re dedicating more funding to AI safety than any other government… Second, AI doesn’t respect traditional National borders so we need Global cooperation between nations and labs just as we unite through cop to tackle climate change, so the UK will host the first ever Summit on global AI safety later this year. I want to make the UK not just the intellectual home but the geographical home of global AI safety regulation… and third, we’re going to seize the extraordinary potential of AI to improve people’s lives.

“So, this is our strategy for AI, to lead at home, to lead overseas and to lead change in our Public Services all part of how we meet our goal of making this the best country in the world for Tech.”

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See Rishi Sunak’s keynote at the 10th London Tech Week and discover more about all the events happening at this world leading event.