During a summit at Bletchley Park, Rishi Sunak cautioned that artificial intelligence has the potential to be as catastrophic for humanity as a pandemic or nuclear war, prompting the need for regulatory measures.
The prime minister expressed worry on Thursday regarding the potential danger of advanced AI models to the general public, in line with recent cautions from top leaders in the industry.
Sunak aims to obtain consent from various governments such as the US, EU, Japan, and Canada regarding collaborative efforts in assessing the safety of AI tools prior to their launch.
Sunak informed journalists that individuals who are creating this technology have acknowledged the potential risks that AI may present, and it is crucial to approach this matter without creating undue alarm. There is ongoing discussion and disagreement within the industry, and it is difficult to determine a definitive stance.
There is reason to believe that this situation could potentially be as dangerous as a pandemic or nuclear war. As leaders, we have a duty to take action and implement measures to safeguard our people, which is precisely what we are doing.
He is set to have a discussion on Thursday evening, which will be streamed on the social media platform X owned by technology mogul Elon Musk, whose words he echoes.
During the summit on Wednesday, Musk expressed to reporters that AI posed a significant danger to humanity.
The prime minister visited Bletchley Park on Thursday morning for the second day of the international AI safety summit, engaging in intense diplomatic discussions.
British officials were delighted to be able to issue a communique at the beginning of the summit, signed by 28 governments including the UK, US, EU and China. The so-called Bletchley declaration promised that the signatories would work together on shared safety standards in a process officials likened to the Cop summits on the climate crisis.
Sunak’s efforts to establish the UK as a global frontrunner in creating AI regulations were somewhat overshadowed on Wednesday by the US commerce secretary, Gina Raimondo, who announced the establishment of a new AI Safety Institute in Washington.
British officials anticipate collaborating closely with the recently established US institute and other entities to establish a “network” of similar organizations capable of conducting testing globally. They plan to disclose additional information about the operation of this network on Thursday.
On Thursday, Sunak will have a meeting with Kamala Harris, the vice president of the US, at the summit. He will also lead discussions with Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, and Georgia Meloni, the prime minister of Italy. Representatives from other nations such as Japan and Canada are anticipated to participate remotely.
Afterwards, Sunak will go back to London to have a discussion with Musk.
The prime minister justified his choice to invite Musk and air their discussion on one of his platforms. During an interview with the BBC on Wednesday, he stated: “Elon Musk has not only invested in and developed AI technologies himself, but he has also been vocal about the potential dangers they may bring. He emphasizes the importance of collaboration between countries and companies to control and reduce these risks.”
He clearly has valuable input to contribute to the discussion.