The US and China have jointly endorsed a declaration emphasizing the need to address the potentially “catastrophic” risks associated with Artificial Intelligence (AI). This declaration, known as the Bletchley Declaration, was supported by 28 nations, including the leading AI powers. The agreement was published on the first day of the world’s first AI safety summit, organized by Rishi Sunak, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, and featured a video message from the King. The Bletchley Park, the host site of the summit, holds historical significance as the home of Britain’s Second World War codebreakers.
The US and China’s participation in the agreement is crucial due to their influential positions in the field of AI. Many prominent AI developers, such as OpenAI and Baidu, fall under their jurisdiction. Despite criticism within his own party, Sunak invited China to the event. Other countries, including France, Japan, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia, have also expressed their support for the agreement.
The declaration highlights the potential “catastrophic” risks associated with cybersecurity, biotechnology, misinformation, bias, and privacy. It emphasizes the importance of international cooperation in addressing these risks. Attendees of the summit have committed to collaboration in AI safety research and have planned future meetings, including a virtual event co-hosted by the UK and South Korea in six months’ time, followed by an in-person summit hosted by France in a year.
However, some critics argue that the declaration lacks substance and fails to prioritize the different threats and opportunities associated with AI. They urge policymakers to establish a clear value system and prioritize the safety and responsible use of AI. Despite these criticisms, the declaration is considered a significant step toward addressing AI-related risks. The participating countries have also agreed to support an international network of scientific research on the safety of foundation models, although the details and influence of this research on regulation are yet to be determined.
Rishi Sunak hailed the declaration as a “landmark achievement,” but it has not satisfied all critics who believe he focused too much on hypothetical future threats. The TUC union and other experts and organizations have accused him of marginalizing those most at risk from AI. They argue that small businesses and creatives, who have voiced concerns about AI, feel overshadowed by the power and influence of big tech firms.
As the UK summit continues, more than 100 figures from politics and business, including Sam Altman from OpenAI, Demis Hassabis from Google DeepMind, and Elon Musk, are in attendance. US Vice President Kamala Harris, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and a Chinese tech minister are also present, although leaders such as Justin Trudeau, Emmanuel Macron, and Olaf Scholz are not. The summit will conclude with a live discussion between Rishi Sunak and Elon Musk on X (formerly Twitter).