Britain to Host World’s First AI Safety Summit

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Key concerns are about terrorists using AI to develop bio-weapons and the potential of AI systems to outsmart humans.

Britain is hosting the inaugural AI Safety Summit where stakeholders will discuss the challenges and potential risks associated with artificial intelligence (AI) on November 1-2. The summit is an initiative of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who aims to position Britain as a bridge between major global players like the US, China, and the EU in the realm of AI.

The 100-strong guest list includes  world leaders, tech executives, and influential figures in academics, who are at the cutting edge of AI technology. They will gather at Bletchley Park, Britain’s World War II code-breaking center. The event specifically addresses ‘frontier AI’, which refers to highly advanced and general-purpose AI models.

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High-profile attendees include US Vice President Kamala Harris, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, China’s vice tech minister, and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Although some world leaders including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will not attend.

The list also includes influential tech executives like Elon Musk, Sam Altman of ChatGPT and Google Deepmind’s Demis Hassabis. ‘AI godfathers’ such as Stuart Russell and Geoffrey Hinton, alongside the Alan Turing Institute and the Future of Life Institute, will represent academics and non-profits which have warned against the risks of AI.

China’s involvement in the summit is noteworthy due to its significant contributions to AI development. However, there have been concerns raised about its participation. The U.S. ambassador to Britain, Jane Hartley, clarified that China’s invitation came from the UK. She emphasized that the UK has autonomy over its guest list.

Francois-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s minister of innovation, science and industry, stressed that AI is a global phenomenon and isn’t restricted by national borders. He highlighted the importance of interoperability between different AI regulations globally, given the rapid advancements in AI. Champagne indicated that the bigger risk might be in not doing enough to address AI challenges, rather than doing too much.

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