The inaugural ‘UK AI Week in Bangkok’ was hosted by the British embassy to foster discussions on AI governance and applications.
Held between 15-18 August, the four-day event served as a dynamic platform to spotlight the country’s AI prowess and strengthen the growing partnership between the UK and Thailand.
The week kicked off with a high-level policy roundtable on 15th August at the Eastin Grand Hotel Phayathai, where esteemed experts and policymakers from both nations gathered.
Distinguished representatives included experts from the Alan Turing Institute, Institute of Analytics, Surrey Institute for People-Centred Artificial Intelligence, and the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office.
Roundtable discussions delved into critical topics such as AI regulation and governance, investment strategies, the potential impact of AI across various sectors, and its role as a force for positive change.
Following the policy roundtable, an AI Week reception was held at the Ambassador’s Residence. The event, attended by UK experts, Thai government officials, and multilateral organisations like UNESCO, provided an opportunity to unveil the UK’s AI strategy and facilitate the establishment of new relationships between stakeholders.
A highlight of the week was the participation of nine British AI and data businesses in the GREAT Pavilion at the TechSauce Global Summit, held at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre from August 16 to 17.
The summit drew over 15,000 tech experts, investors, and businesses, and showcased the diverse commercial capabilities of UK enterprises in sectors spanning agriculture, finance, climate, design, and cybersecurity.
Attendees had the chance to engage in workshops led by UK experts, covering AI applications in health, public services, and national AI strategy development. British businesses and experts also contributed to discussions on topics like climate tech, femtech, and air quality, and presented their innovations to local venture capitalists.
Natalie Black, His Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Asia Pacific, expressed enthusiasm about the event, saying, “With over 160 unicorns and a tech sector worth $1 trillion, the UK looks forward to offering our expertise and partnership in developing AI for good. I am excited to see deepening tech collaborations between our two countries.”
The week’s activities concluded with the ‘Turing Night’ event on 18th August at Icon Siam. The event, attended by over 150 government officials, tech businesses, and investors, featured an exhibition, networking reception, panel discussion on AI, and a screening of the film ‘The Imitation Game’.
David Thomas, British Charge d’Affaires to Thailand, remarked, “UK AI Week epitomises the modern spirit of collaboration between the UK and Thailand, fostering innovation and advancing free and ethical AI development.”
The success of the UK AI Week in Bangkok underscores the UK’s dedication to technological advancement and international collaboration in shaping the future of AI for the betterment of society.
Solidifying its global AI leadership, the UK will hold a ‘Safety Summit’ in November. The event will be held at Bletchley Park, home to the infamous codebreakers of World War Two —including, of course, Alan Turing.
The UK Government also announced a £100 million fund last week that will be used to bolster the production of homegrown AI chips.
The UK is home to a handful of relevant established companies like Arm – in addition to promising startups like Graphcore – but most firms operating in the country are US-based. The government hopes the fund will help to boost the UK’s position in AI hardware production although experts have expressed concern the pot is far too low in comparison to peers.
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