Artificial intelligence (AI) could be used to provide “personalised learning” to children at school, the prime minister has said.
Rishi Sunak said education was one of the public services he was most excited about AI‘s potential to transform, adding it could “reduce teachers’ workloads” by assisting with lesson planning and marking.
He said the potential for the technology to provide “personalised learning for each individual” was “so powerful”, comparing it to the impact of having a tutor.
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It comes as schools and universities grapple with how to manage the rapid development of AI, which is becoming increasingly powerful and accessible.
Last month, headteachers warned large language systems like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard were developing “far too quickly” and guidance on how classrooms should adapt wasn’t keeping up.
These models are trained on huge amounts of data, so they can understand and respond to prompts. They have generated everything from convincing essays to speeches, and some schools and universities in other countries have already banned them.
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Mr Sunak is keen to harness the potential of AI, saying it “can help achieve the holy grail of public service reform”.
He was speaking at London Tech Week on Monday morning, where he said it could also revolutionise health care.
“We’re already seeing the promise of what AI can do, whether it’s new drug discovery; or helping doctors do surgery more accurately and faster; or detect cancers much earlier than they otherwise would,” he added.
Mr Sunak said the tech will be useful across the economy, with “every job essentially having AI as the co-pilot”.
The prime minister wants the UK to become a global hub for AI development, and also regulation.
In the past month, he has met the bosses of tech giants including OpenAI and Google’s parent, Alphabet, to discuss the sudden explosion of AI adoption across the economy.
The government subsequently announced Britain would host a global summit in the autumn to debate the regulatory “guardrails” that will mitigate future risks from the tech, which Mr Sunak compared to the COP climate summits.
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Ahead of London Tech Week, Sky News revealed Mr Sunak is lining up a tech entrepreneur who co-founded music industry business Songkick to spearhead a £100m taskforce dubbed the Foundation Models Taskforce (FMT).
The FMT is being established to accelerate the UK’s adoption of safe AI models.