Nations participating in a summit in the UK vow to address the potential ‘disastrous’ dangers of AI.

Representatives from 28 countries, including the United States and China, have come to a consensus to collaborate in addressing the potential dangers presented by the rapid development of artificial intelligence, which could have devastating consequences.

The initial global AI Safety Summit, hosted at a former intelligence base used for codebreaking near London, emphasized the advanced “frontier” AI that certain researchers caution may jeopardize the survival of humanity.

Rishi Sunak, the British Prime Minister, stated that the declaration marks a significant accomplishment as the top AI nations come to a consensus on the importance of comprehending the potential hazards of AI. This agreement aims to safeguard the future of our future generations.

However, Vice President Kamala Harris of the United States encouraged Britain and other nations to take more extensive and quicker action, emphasizing the impacts that AI is currently making and the importance of holding technology companies responsible, potentially through laws and regulations.

During a speech at the U.S. Embassy, Harris emphasized the urgency for taking action to address all potential risks associated with AI, not just those that are immediately threatening like cyberattacks and bioweapons developed by AI.

She stated that there are other dangers that require our immediate attention, ones that are currently causing harm and are even seen as life-threatening by many individuals. These include a senior citizen losing their health care coverage due to a flawed AI algorithm or a woman being threatened by her abusive partner with manipulated photos.

Sunak, a former banker with a love for technology, is dedicated to making the U.K. a center for computing innovation. He sees the AI Safety Summit as the beginning of a worldwide discussion on ensuring the responsible advancement of AI.

Harris is scheduled to participate in the summit on Thursday, alongside government representatives from over 25 countries such as Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and China. The invitation of China has caused objections from some members of Sunak’s ruling Conservative Party.

Getting the nations to sign the agreement, dubbed the Bletchley Declaration, was an achievement, even if it is light on details and does not propose a way to regulate the development of AI. The countries pledged to work toward “shared agreement and responsibility” about AI risks, and hold a series of further meetings. South Korea will hold a mini virtual AI summit in six months, followed by an in-person one in France a year from now.

According to Wu Zhaohui, China’s Vice Minister of Science and Technology, AI technology is characterized by uncertainty, lack of explanation, and transparency.

The speaker mentioned that there are potential ethical, safety, privacy, and fairness concerns associated with this topic. They also highlighted the increasing complexity of the issue. Additionally, it was noted that Chinese President Xi Jinping recently launched the Global Initiative for AI Governance.

He urged for worldwide cooperation in order to exchange knowledge and provide access to AI technologies to the general public through open source terms.

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, is set to have a conversation with Sunak about artificial intelligence. This discussion will be streamed on Thursday evening. Musk, who is a prominent figure in the tech industry, was one of the signatories of a statement expressing concerns about the potential dangers of AI to mankind.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, and leaders from prominent American artificial intelligence companies like Anthropic, Google’s DeepMind, and OpenAI, as well as influential computer scientists including Yoshua Bengio, known as one of the pioneers of AI, are all present at the gathering in Bletchley Park. This location holds historical significance as a covert location for codebreaking during World War II and is considered to be the birthplace of modern computing.

Participants stated that the structure of the private meeting has been promoting constructive discussions. According to Mustafa Suleyman, the CEO of Inflection AI, the casual networking sessions are aiding in establishing trust.

During official talks, Suleyman informed reporters that there have been distinct differences in opinions between countries of the north and south, as well as those in support of and against open source.

According to Bengio, open source AI systems have the benefit of enabling researchers and experts to efficiently identify issues and find solutions. However, a disadvantage is that once an open source system is made available, it can be accessed and manipulated by anyone for potentially harmful intentions.

“What can be done about the conflict between open source and security?”

Last week, Sunak stated that only governments have the responsibility to protect individuals from the potential dangers of AI. However, he cautioned against hasty regulation of AI technology, emphasizing the need for a thorough understanding before taking action.

On the other hand, Harris emphasized the importance of tackling present issues, such as societal harms like prejudice, discrimination, and the spread of false information.

The speaker referenced President Joe Biden’s recent executive order, which establishes protections for AI, as proof that the United States is taking the lead in creating regulations for artificial intelligence that prioritize the well-being of the general population.

Harris urged other nations to join a commitment, supported by the U.S., to prioritize “responsible and ethical” implementation of AI in military applications.

“President Biden and I believe that all leaders … have a moral, ethical and social duty to make sure that AI is adopted and advanced in a way that protects the public from potential harm and ensures that everyone is able to enjoy its benefits,” she said.


Lawless filed a report from London.