Terrorists could use artificial intelligence to build weapons, PM warns, as he says UK to host first AI safety centre

26 October 2023, 10:31 | Updated: 26 October 2023, 10:41

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak delivers a speech on AI
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak delivers a speech on AI. Picture: Getty

By Kit Heren

The UK will host the first artificial intelligence safety centre, Rishi Sunak has said, as he warned that terrorists could use AI to build deadly weapons.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The AI safety centre will "examine, evaluate and test new types of AI" to explore the risks they pose, from misinformation to threats of physical violence.

Mr Sunak said the centre would share the results of its research with the rest of the world, which he said would help attract jobs and investment into the AI sector in the UK.

The Prime Minister's comments, delivered as part of a speech in central London on Thursday, come as Britain is preparing to host an AI safety summit at Bletchley Park next Wednesday and Thursday.

He said the AI safety centre would "advance the world’s knowledge of AI safety and... carefully examine, evaluate and test new types of AI so we understand what each new model is capable of, exploring all the risks from social harms like bias and misinformation, through to the most extreme risks of all."

Read more: Paedophiles using AI to make new images of real victims of child sexual abuse that threaten to 'overwhelm the internet'

Read more: AI could become powerful enough to create weapons and ‘kill many humans’ in as little as two years, warns No10 adviser

Bletchley Park will host the AI summit next week
Bletchley Park will host the AI summit next week. Picture: Alamy

Mr Sunak claimed that the UK is "developing the most advance protections for AI of any country in the world".

But said he wanted to be "honest" about the risks the new technology could pose.

"Get this wrong and it could make it easier to build chemical or biological weapons," he told the audience. "Terrorist groups could use AI to spread fear and disruption on an even greater scale.

"Criminals could exploit AI for cyber attacks, disinformation, fraud or even child sexual abuse."

Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak. Picture: Getty

His comments come after an internet watchdog claimed that paedophiles are using AI to create new images of children who have previously been sexually abused, as well as making pictures of celebrities as children, and manipulating genuine photos of child actors to make them look like sexual abuse

Mr Sunak added that "in the most unlikely but extreme cases, there is even the risk that humanity could lose control of AI completely through the kind of AI sometimes referred to as ‘super intelligence’."

The PM said he wouldn't rush to bring in regulation for artificial intelligence.

"This is a point of principle," he said. "We believe in innovation. It’s a hallmark of the British economy, so we will always have a presumption to encourage it not to stifle it.

"And in any case, how can we write laws that make sense for something that we don’t yet fully understand?"

Andrew Marr explains why we should be worried about AI

The UK has invited China to the AI summit next week, a move that has prompted criticism from some observers after Beijing was accused of running a spy in the British parliament.

Mr Sunak said: "I know there are some who will say they should have been excluded but there can be no serious strategy for AI without at least trying to engage all of the world's leading AI powers.

"That might not have been the easy thing to do but it was the right thing to do."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Jay Slater had travelled to the Canary Islands for a music festival

Spanish police reject help from Lancashire Constabulary as desperate search for missing Brit Jay Slater continues

Kemi Badenoch has warned that Labour will reverse Brexit

Keir Starmer will 'reverse Brexit' if Labour wins election, Kemi Badenoch warns

Jay Slater had travelled to the Canary Islands for a music festival

Owner of flat where missing Brit Jay Slater was staying in Tenerife spotted him 'walking fast' up dangerous ravine

Labour is said to be drafting options for wealth taxes

Labour 'draws up plans for wealth taxes' in bid to 'unlock' funds for public services

Nigel Farage said that the West had provoked Putin into invading Ukraine

'We gave Putin an excuse': Nigel Farage says the West provoked Russia into invading Ukraine

Just Stop Oil plans major disruption to summer holidays with private jet stunt just the start

Two charged after Just Stop Oil protesters sprayed private jets with orange paint at Stansted Airport

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

Tories raise less than £300k in second week of election campaign, as over three-quarters of all donations go to Labour

File photo of passengers boarding an Easyjet plane

Chaos as Easyjet kicks 26 men off flight headed from the UK to Portugal for 'disruptive behaviour'

Bardia Shojeifard

'Outwardly normal' teen killer with 'worrying interest in knives' posed with huge blade before murdering Alfie Lewis, 15

Police were called to a property at Shorncliffe Road shortly after 3pm on Sunday

Pictured: Baby girl mauled to death in Coventry dog attack at family home

Public schoolboy guilty of attempted murder after vicious clawhammer attack on sleeping staff and students ahead of 'zombie apocalypse'

Public schoolboy obsessed by 'zombie apocalypse' guilty of claw hammer attack on sleeping staff and students

PC Idominik Efeotor raised the issue at the annual State of London debate

'The people who investigate the officers are the problem’: Black Met officer hits out at disproportionate treatment in disciplinary process

Salisbury Novichok victim Dawn Sturgess

Former spy and daughter may give evidence at Salisbury poisonings inquiry

Rishi Sunak has urged voters not to let Labour 'waltz into office'

'Don't let Labour waltz into office', Sunak tells voters as Brits may not 'ever' be able to get them out of power

Starmer says eco mob 'needs to feel the full force of the law' as he slams 'pathetic' Just Stop Oil

Starmer says 'pathetic' eco mob 'needs to feel the full force of the law' as two charged for private jet stunt

The M6

Drivers face misery as major motorway closed for three days next week, sending cars on 90 minute diversion