BrandArena: AI Safety Summit: UK Pledges £38 Million to Support AI Projects, Lab in Africa

Thursday 2 November 2023

AI Safety Summit: UK Pledges £38 Million to Support AI Projects, Lab in Africa

The United Kingdom flagged off the world's first major summit on artificial intelligence (AI) safety yesterday at Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire, bringing together political, business and technology leaders to discuss the societal effect of this breakthrough technology.

Among those in attendance were UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, US Vice President Kamala Harris, EU Chief Ursula von der Leyen, and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, all of whom expressed worries about frontier AI. Other notable figures that attended the event include China's vice technology minister, Wu Zhaohui; CEO of X, formerly Twitter, Elon Musk; Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, and many others.

The most recent AI models have demonstrated the technology's potential while also raising concerns about issues such as employment displacement, cyber dangers, and human control over AI systems.

Sunak, whose government organised the summit, stated that the conference's "ultimate goal" is to collaborate internationally to verify the safety of AI systems before they are released, to create the first-ever international consensus on AI risks, drawing comparisons with climate change initiatives.

However, due to a perceived lack of enthusiasm, London has scaled back its objectives, such as establishing a new regulatory body.

Sunak emphasised the importance of countries reaching a shared understanding of AI risks.

Over 100 signatories of an open letter criticised the exclusion of affected communities and workers and the limited participation of civil society organisations.

After receiving criticism for focusing solely on the perils of AI, the United Kingdom promised £38 million ($46 million) on Wednesday to fund AI initiatives around the world, beginning in Africa. BrandArena gathered that the initiative will include investment in post-graduate AI research skills in Nigeria.

In a video message, King Charles emphasised the "clear imperative" of keeping "rapidly advancing AI technology safe and secure." He emphasised the importance of urgent international coordination to address the risks, comparing it to efforts to combat climate change. The King remarked that individuals in positions of authority must ensure that AI benefits all of humanity.

The small community of experts creating the most powerful AI models, according to Ian Hogarth, Chair of the UK's AI Task Force. While he is positive about AI's potential, he believes that uncontrolled progress could overtake protections. Hogarth emphasised the importance of grounding conversations in empirical evidence and described the summit as a brief window of opportunity to alter AI's direction.

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