September 13, 2023

British unicorns to be invited to UK’s AI summit

Graphcore and Stability AI awaiting invitations to UK government summit on AI safety

Graphcore and Stability AI, two leading British AI startups, will attend the AI Safety summit organised by the UK government, Sifted has learned.

The two-day event, taking place in Bletchley Park in southern England on November 1-2, has been touted by the UK government as an opportunity to set international standards for the safe development of AI.

Although invitations to companies have not yet been issued, UK officials have told Graphcore, an AI chip designer unicorn based in Bristol, to expect an invitation, CEO Nigel Toon told Sifted.


Stability AI, a British unicorn focused on developing generative AI models, is also planning to attend and has been told that they should get an invite soon, according to a company spokesperson.

The summit will gather startups on its opening day, and heads of governments from a selected number of countries on the second day, according to a UK official. The agenda for the event is yet to be finalised.

“Some startups will be invited — not a very large number,” the official said. 

The size of the venue, once the top-secret home of the World War II codebreakers from Allied nations, was one limiting factor, he added. 

British officials are so far focused on getting key players in AI, both in terms of governments and industry leaders, to attend. Invitations to governments went out a few days ago, with China, the US, Canada, India and six EU countries, plus the European Commission, included in the list.  

UK officials began engaging with counterparts from other countries on their red lines and safety proposals on Monday, with a view to agree a joint statement for heads of government to sign at the summit.

“The government is under a lot of pressure to come up with some principles on how AI should develop in terms of safety and security,” the official said. “The summit was originally seen as purely focusing on the safety and security issues, whereas now I think it will be a bit broader.”

Cristina Gallardo

Cristina Gallardo is a senior reporter at Sifted currently based in London (soon to be Barcelona) covering tech sovereignty and Iberia.