RISHI Sunak has blocked the Scottish Government from being represented at a major artificial intelligence (AI) summit.

The “world first” AI safety summit started on Wednesday as the UK looks to take a lead role in the discussions around the risks and opportunities with the rapidly advancing technology.

According to a published list, government representatives from China will be at the two-day event at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire, as well as figures from the US, France, Germany, Japan, India, the Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and others.

The National:

Tech giants Amazon, Google, Meta, Microsoft, Samsung and Sony are also confirmed, alongside AI firms Anthropic, Google DeepMind, OpenAI and Elon Musk’s xAI start-up.

But no one from the Scottish Government will be in attendance, according to the Minister for Trade and Innovation Richard Lochhead (below).

The minister said he was “disappointed”, adding that they had requested a place with other devolved administrations. He also highlighted the “impact of AI regulation on devolved areas”.

The National: Trade minister Richard Lochhead will go to France on a two-day visit

Lochhead said: “We are working to make Scotland a world leader in the development and use of AI in a way which is trustworthy, ethical and inclusive.

“ Our universities’ AI research and teaching is already world-class and we are determined to remain at the forefront of AI policy and technology development.

“While this summit appears to have a narrow focus on the long-term threat so-called 'frontier AI' could pose to global security and doomsday scenarios, we should not lose sight of the more immediate risks such as misinformation and cyber security, nor the potential transformational benefits ethical AI can deliver to global society and the Scottish economy.

“I am disappointed the Scottish Government is not represented at the summit, despite requesting a place along with other devolved administrations, but I welcome assurances I was given at my meeting with the Secretary of State Michelle Donelan to discuss this issue where she committed to closely engage with the Scottish Government going forward. I hope this happens.

“Given the impact of AI regulation on devolved areas, and the likelihood implementation of regulation will be in the hands of Scottish agencies, Scotland’s interests and priorities need to be taken into account.”