Leaders from 29 countries and the European Union (EU) convened at Bletchley Park on Wednesday to engage in a pivotal dialogue concerning the risks and governance of artificial intelligence (AI).
The inaugural day of the AI Safety Summit culminated in a collective endorsement of a declaration aimed at regulating uncontrolled AI development.
Hosted at a historic former code-breaking facility near London, the summit zeroed in on the advanced realm of “frontier” AI, a domain that some scientists caution may pose existential risks to humanity.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak described the declaration as a “landmark achievement,” signifying the world’s most influential AI players’ shared acknowledgment of the imperative nature of comprehending AI risks, thereby securing the long-term welfare of future generations.
Meanwhile, Vice President Kamala Harris urged the UK and other nations to accelerate their efforts, underscoring the transformations already brought about by AI and the necessity to hold tech companies accountable, including via legislation.
She said during the AI Safety Summit:
“I look forward to the work that the United States and the United Kingdom will do together. I think we are doing the important work of providing some leadership around this exciting new technology, recognising the potential benefits and the potential risks.”
The Bletchley Declaration stated:
“Artificial Intelligence (AI) presents enormous global opportunities: it has the potential to transform and enhance human wellbeing, peace, and prosperity. To realise this, we affirm that, for the good of all, AI should be designed, developed, deployed, and used in a manner that is safe, in such a way as to be human-centric, trustworthy, and responsible.”
The Bletchley Declaration underscores the importance of collectively identifying AI safety hazards, fostering a science-based understanding of these risks, formulating risk-based policies tailored to each country’s unique circumstances, and fostering collaboration and transparency between governments.
The declaration also stated:
“Many risks arising from AI are inherently international in nature, and so are best addressed through international cooperation.”
Ahead of the summit, United States (US) President Joe Biden issued a comprehensive executive order addressing AI development in the US.
President Joe Biden emphasised:
“My Administration cannot — and will not — tolerate the use of AI to disadvantage those who are already too often denied equal opportunity and justice.”
This order calls for a coordinated approach involving government, private sector, and academia, setting forth guidelines for AI evaluation, promoting innovation, supporting American workers, and safeguarding consumer privacy.
Countries signing the declaration encompass Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Nigeria, South Korea, Ukraine, Indonesia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), reflecting a global commitment to grappling with the proliferation of AI, particularly generative AI, into everyday life.
Generative AI, denoting AI models that use prompts to generate diverse content like text, images, music, and videos, has brought significant advancements in how people interact with complex information and tasks.
Yet, it has also raised concerns as it can be employed for spreading misinformation and creating AI-generated deepfakes.
In June, the United Nations Secretary-General issued a warning about the detrimental impacts of AI deepfakes, specifically their role in fuelling hate and violence through disinformation, misinformation, and hate speech in conflict zones.
It is increasingly evident that addressing AI’s multifaceted challenges is imperative, marking an era where the status quo is no longer a viable option.