On Wednesday, Britain will host the first AI Safety Summit, which will bring together governments, universities, and firms working at the bleeding edge of artificial intelligence to discuss how, and even if, the hazards of the technology can be mitigated.
The conference is the idea of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who wants Britain to act as a go-between for the economic blocs of the United States, China, and the European Union.
The 100-person guest list includes global leaders, tech entrepreneurs including Elon Musk and ChatGPT CEO Sam Altman, and academics for the event on Wednesday and Thursday at Bletchley Park, the site of Britain’s Global War II codebreakers.
Skeptics have questioned Britain’s ability to exert influence while the United States, the Group of Seven industrialized countries, and the European Union are all promoting various projects, some of which are already underway.
However, the meeting, which focuses on extremely powerful general-purpose models known as “frontier AI,” has attracted US Deputy President Kamala Harris, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, China’s deputy tech minister, and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
Britain’s technology minister Michelle Donelan said “the right people with the right expertise” would be around the table to discuss how to mitigate the risks of AI.
Given the country’s importance in creating AI technology, China will be a prominent participant, however, some British MPs have expressed concern over its attendance.
Jane Hartley, the United States ambassador to the United Kingdom, said that the AI discourse should be global, but that the invitation to China came from London.
“This is the UK invitation, this is not the U.S.,” she told Reuters. “When the UK government was talking to us, we said it’s your summit. So if you want to invite them, invite them“.
According to Francois-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s minister of innovation, research, and industry, AI will not be bound by national borders, thus interoperability across various policies being put in place is critical.
“The risk is that we do too little, rather than too much, given the evolution and speed with which things are going,” he told Reuters.
Topics on the agenda include how terrorists may utilize AI systems to construct bioweapons and the technology’s ability to outwit humans and wreak havoc on the planet.