The first ever global summit on artificial intelligence (AI) safety concluded on Thursday with a landmark declaration signed by 28 countries, including the US, China, and the EU. The declaration, known as the Bletchley Declaration, calls for international cooperation to manage the challenges and risks of AI, especially the latest and most powerful AI systems, dubbed “Frontier AI”.
The summit, hosted by the UK at Bletchley Park, the historic site of World War II codebreaking, brought together representatives from governments, technology companies, researchers, and civil society groups. The summit aimed to establish some ground rules and foster international collaboration on the safe and responsible development of AI around the world.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who announced the summit in Autumn 2023 as one of his priorities, said: “To fully embrace the extraordinary opportunities of artificial intelligence, we must grip and tackle the risks to ensure it develops safely in the years ahead. With the combined strength of our international partners, thriving AI industry and expert academic community, we can secure the rapid international action we need for the safe and responsible development of AI around the world.”
Some of the concerns that were raised at the summit include the potential use of AI for terrorism, criminal activity, and warfare, as well as existential risk posed to humanity as a whole. The Bletchley Declaration outlines some principles to guide the development and use of AI, such as ensuring human oversight, transparency, accountability, fairness, and respect for human rights. The declaration also commits to supporting national and international frameworks for AI governance, as well as fostering collaboration on AI safety research and standards.
One of the highlights of the summit was a live interview between tech entrepreneur Elon Musk and Prime Minister Sunak on AI safety on Wednesday. Musk, who has been vocal about his fears of AI surpassing human intelligence and posing a threat to humanity, praised the UK for hosting the summit and urged other countries to join the effort. He also announced that his company OpenAI, which aims to create artificial general intelligence (AGI), would share its safety results with the public and collaborate with other researchers.
President Joe Biden also welcomed the summit and signed an executive order requiring AI developers to share safety results with the US government. He also announced the creation of an American AI Safety Institute, as part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), to conduct research and testing on AI safety.
The next AI Safety Summit is planned to be hosted by South Korea in mid-2024, followed by France around late-2024. The UK government said it hopes that the summit will be a catalyst for further action and dialogue on AI safety among all stakeholders.