Global representatives gather for Rishi Sunak’s AI safety summit

1 November 2023, 08:44

Bletchley Park refurbishment announced
Bletchley Park refurbishment announced. Picture: PA

Representatives from the USA, France, Japan and China will attend the summit, though world leaders like President Biden will not make an appearance.

Representatives of countries from across the world are set to attend Rishi Sunak’s summit aimed at laying the groundwork for the safe use of artificial intelligence (AI).

The AI safety summit will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, with representatives from the USA, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Singapore and China confirmed as attending.

Neither US President Joe Biden nor French President Emmanuel Macron will be at the summit, but Downing Street has denied the gathering is being snubbed by world leaders.

Vice President Kamala Harris will represent the USA at the summit in place of Mr Biden, and EU commission chief Ursula von der Leyen will speak on behalf of the bloc.

Elon Musk, the Tesla CEO and owner of the social media site X, will also attend and join the Prime Minister for a live interview after the summit closes on Thursday.

Mr Musk, a co-founder of OpenAI – the company behind the popular ChatGPT tool – has previously expressed concerns about the possibility of AI becoming hostile towards humans.

Technology summit in Dublin
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, will attend the AI Safety Summit (Brian Lawless/PA)

The summit was originally billed by Mr Sunak as a chance for the UK to lead the world in establishing agreement on the safe use of AI technology, after he set out his ambition for the UK to become the “geographical home of global AI safety regulation” in the summer.

Conflict in the Middle East has since fixed the attention of world leaders, and in the US, President Biden has signed an executive order to “ensure that America leads the way in seizing the promise and managing the risks of artificial intelligence”.

But the UK Government has insisted the summit has merit, with a guest list including pioneering AI companies like UK-based Deep Mind, as well as OpenAI, and Anthropic.

Israel-Hamas conflict
Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

Michelle Donelan, the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, said: “AI is already an extraordinary force for good in our society, with limitless opportunity to grow the global economy, deliver better public services and tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges.

“But the risks posed by frontier AI are serious and substantive and it is critical that we work together, both across sectors and countries to recognise these risks.

“This summit provides an opportunity for us to ensure we have the right people with the right expertise gathered around the table to discuss how we can mitigate these risks moving forward.

“Only then will we be able to truly reap the benefits of this transformative technology in a responsible manner.”

Roundtable discussions on frontier AI safety will take place on the first day of the gathering at Bletchley Park, near Milton Keynes, which was home to the UK’s Second World War codebreakers.

Alongside tech companies, civil society groups and experts from the Alan Turing Institute, and the Ada Lovelace Institute will be present.

The second day of the summit will focus on the responsible use of AI technology.

As the conference begins, the UK Government has meanwhile pledged £38 million towards funding artificial intelligence projects around the world, starting in Africa.

The commitment is part of an £80 million collaboration between Britain, Canada and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to boost “safe and responsible” programming, the Foreign Office said.

By Press Association

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