UK prepares to host inaugural AI safety Summit in Bletchley Park

27/10/2023 | Financial Times

The UK will host an inaugural global summit on artificial intelligence (AI) safety at Bletchley Park next week. Attendees include political leaders from 28 countries, top executives from Big Tech companies and leading AI developers. 

While the remit has expanded from its initial goal, the event aims to establish principles to govern the powerful new technology before it outpaces efforts to control it. The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) wanted the event to include broader discussions on the social impacts of AI; however, Number 10 preferred to focus on national security. The final agenda will involve roundtable discussions on practical ways of addressing safety on the first day, and it will end with a case study on using AI for the public good in education.

On the second day, political leaders and tech executives will meet to discuss steps on making AI safe, along with bilateral talks and a closing speech from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. A communiqué will establish attendees' shared position on the exact nature of the threat AI poses. The organisers also plan to create an AI Safety Institute, an international panel that will research AI's evolving risks and announce the event's next host country. 

Then, on Friday, the UK government plans to publish a paper recommending responsible AI development. The paper suggests that companies should have policies in place to turn off their products if harm cannot be prevented, employ security consultants to identify vulnerabilities in their systems, and create labels for content created or modified by AI. The Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, Michelle Donelan, advocates that AI firms subscribe to these processes during the summit. Companies are in agreement that things have to change, according to Donelan, who said the current situation involves companies marking their own homework.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reveals that UN Secretary-General António Guterres has announced the formation of a 39-member global advisory panel to report on the international governance of AI and its opportunities, risks, and challenges. The gender-balanced and geographically diverse group, comprising experts from academia, government, civil society, the private sector, and the research community, will issue preliminary recommendations by the end of the year, with final recommendations coming in the summer of 2024, ahead of the UN Summit of the Future in September 2024. 

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