As governments around the world plan for their AI-powered futures, the UK is preparing to take on a somewhat scholarly and moral mantle.

In a report published today by the House of Lords, which will be used to guide future government policy, a committee recommended that the UK “forge a distinctive role for itself as a pioneer in ethical AI.”

Doing so would allow the UK to to play to its “particular blend of national assets,” write the report’s authors, and guide global development in the field.

These assets include leading universities; a thriving legal industry; and “world-respected institutions such as the BBC.” The report suggests that the government sponsor more basic research into AI to develop its role, and convene a global summit in London next year to create a “common framework for the ethical development and deployment of artificial intelligence systems.”

The recommendations are ambitious but essentially pragmatic.

The report’s authors are quick to point out that when it comes to funding research and generating international tech companies, the UK just can’t compete with larger nations.

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