A major tech company, which has just announced extra UK investment, has rejected calls to pause the development of artificial intelligence (AI).
Fears about the technology have led to demands for new regulation, with the UK calling a global summit this autumn.
But the boss of software firm Palantir, Alex Karp, said it was only those with “no products” who wanted a pause.
“The race is on – the question is do we stay ahead or do we cede the lead?” he told the BBC.
Mr Karp told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the West currently held key commercial and military advantages in AI – and should not relinquish them.
“It’s not like if we slow down, the AI race will stop. Every country in the world – especially our adversaries – cannot afford for us to have this advantage,” he said.
“Studying this and allowing other people to win both on commercial areas and on the battlefield is a really bad strategy.”
Mr Karp’s comments strike a very different tone to the recent glut of dire warnings about the potentially existential threat AI poses to humanity – and accompanying calls for its development to be slowed or even halted.
Regulators worldwide are scrambling to devise new rules to contain its risk.
The government says the UK will host a global AI summit this autumn, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak saying he wanted the UK to lead efforts to ensure the benefits of AI were “harnessed for the good of humanity”.
It is not yet known who will attend the summit but the government said it would “bring together key countries, leading tech companies and researchers to agree safety measures to evaluate and monitor the most significant risks from AI”.
Mr Sunak, currently meeting US President Joe Biden in Washington DC, said the UK was the “natural place” to lead the conversation on AI.
Downing Street cited the prime minister’s recent meetings with the bosses of leading AI firms as evidence of this. It also pointed to the 50,000 people employed in the sector, which it said was worth £3.7bn to the UK.