(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called for global cooperation to guard against risks posed by artificial intelligence, before talks with President Joe Biden he hopes will boost UK influence over regulating the technology.

Sunak wants Britain to play a leading role in the AI debate and harbors hopes of establishing a global watchdog in London. His government also announced plans to host a conference in the fall to bring key players together.

But just as it does on trade and other issues, the UK faces familiar post-Brexit hurdles in its attempt to influence AI regulation, as it faces up to realities outside the larger European Union market. It was not included when US and EU officials gathered to discuss rules and safeguards in Sweden last month.

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Sunak, who last month met with the CEOs of OpenAI, DeepMind and Anthropic, told reporters en route to Washington the UK is well-placed to lead the international debate on AI. In a statement, his office said Britain’s AI sector ranks third behind the US and China, employing 50,000 people and contributing £3.7 billion ($4.6 billion) a year to the economy.

Ahead of their meeting in the White House on Thursday, Sunak’s office said the premier and Biden will take a coordinated approach on the issue.

“Historically the UK has got it right when we are trying to balance innovation with making sure the new technology is safe for society,” Sunak told reporters. “You would be hard pressed to find many other countries other than the US in the Western world with more expertise and talent in AI. We are the natural place to lead the conversation, and that’s what I heard from the CEOs.”

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In a later interview with the BBC in Washington on Wednesday, Sunak hit back at the charge that Britain’s influence is waning after Brexit.

“We should have confidence in our country being a leader when it comes to AI, because that’s what the facts demonstrate,” he said. “If you look at the number of companies, the amount invested and the quality of our research, other than the US there’s no other democratic country that has that strength.”

Generative AI tools have come under increased scrutiny as their popular use has accelerated, following the debut of OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Microsoft Corp. has incorporated AI technology into its Bing search product, and Alphabet Inc.’s Google released its rival Bard chatbot in March. Biden hosted leaders from those and other leading firms at the White House in May.

The rapid development of the technology has prompted concerns about the risks it could pose. A number of prominent tech industry figures including OpenAI CEO Sam Altman have warned about dangers including the technology’s potential to help spread disinformation.

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The Biden administration has begun soliciting comments from US experts and companies ahead of an expected regulatory push, with the Commerce Department saying this year it is considering regulations that could require AI models to go through a certification process before they are released.

Meanwhile Sunak’s own AI adviser, Matt Clifford, told TalkTV on Monday the technology has the potential to “create new recipes for bio weapons or to launch large scale cyber attacks” that in two years could “kill many humans.”

“This is a technology which will impact our lives and economy. It’s important to have the guardrails in place,” Sunak told reporters. 

Sunak is also exploring rules to protect against those risks, while EU lawmakers have been drafting an AI Act for the bloc.

The UK hopes to attract key governments, leading tech companies and AI researchers to its conference in the fall to discuss how to evaluate and monitor the most significant risks posed by AI, according to Sunak’s office.

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