UK, US, EU, and China sign Bletchley declaration warning of AI danger
The UK’s AI Safety Summit saw representatives and companies from 28 countries sign a declaration warning of the risks posed by the most advanced “frontier” AI systems.
The document, named The Bletchley Declaration after the historical site where the conference took place, pledges co-operation to tackle the threats posed by large language models such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard. The declaration said that many risks arising from AI are inherently international in nature, and so are best addressed through international co-operation.
“We resolve to work together in an inclusive manner to ensure human-centric, trustworthy and responsible AI,” the declaration read.
The summit was led by UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who hailed the agreement as a landmark achievement. The “world first” aims to identify concerns around the safety of AI technology with a pledge to develop respective risk-based policies across countries.
Sunak said: “This is a landmark achievement that sees the world’s greatest AI powers agree on the urgency behind understanding the risks of AI – helping ensure the long-term future of our children and grandchildren.
“Under the UK’s leadership, more than 25 countries at the AI Safety Summit have stated a shared responsibility to address AI risks and take forward vital international collaboration on frontier AI safety and research.”
Sunak had picked Bletchley as the location of the summit in recognition of the Milton Keynes site’s history as the top-secret home of British codebreakers, such as Alan Turing, during the Second World War.
Signatories agreed to a follow-up meeting to be held in South Korea in six months’ time. A third is also planned for France next year. However, some industry experts warned the document fell short of setting specific policy goals.
Paul Teather, CEO of AI-enabled research firm AMPLYFI, told Euronews Next. that bringing major powers together to endorse ethical principles can be viewed as a success, “but the undertaking of producing concrete policies and accountability mechanisms must follow swiftly.”
“Vague terminology leaves room for misinterpretation while relying solely on voluntary cooperation is insufficient toward sparking globally recognised best practices around AI”.
The Summit saw several high-profile attendees from across the political and tech spectrum, including US Vice President Kamala Harris – appearing in the same week that President Biden unveiled his own plans for AI regulation – and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The world’s richest man has previously warned about the dangers of AI.
In an interview with PA news agency, Musk said: “I think what we’re really aiming for here is to establish a framework for insight so that there’s at least a third-party referee, an independent referee, that can observe what leading AI companies are doing and at least sound the alarm if they have concerns.”
British monarch King Charles III also made an appearance at the conference, albeit virtually, in a pre-recorded keynote.
“We are witnessing one of the greatest technological leaps in the history of human endeavour,” said His Majesty. “There is a clear imperative to ensure that this rapidly evolving technology remains safe and secure.”
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