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UK, US, China Sign AI Safety Pledge At UK Summit

US Vice President Kamala Harris delivers a speech on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in central London, on November 1, 2023. (Photo by Daniel LEAL / AFP)

Countries like the United Kingdom, the United States, and China agreed on Wednesday on the “need for international action” at the world’s first conference on artificial intelligence (AI) safety.

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The two-day event in Bletchley Park, north of London, was kicked off by the UK government publishing the “Bletchley Declaration,” which was signed by 28 countries and the European Union.

In it, they reaffirmed “the urgent need to understand and collectively manage potential risks through a new joint global effort to ensure AI is developed and deployed in a safe, responsible way for the benefit of the global community” .

Sunak termed the declaration a “landmark achievement,” while King Charles III encouraged worldwide cooperation to address the “significant risks” of unbridled development in a video message to the conference.

“There is a clear imperative to ensure that this rapidly evolving technology remains safe and secure,” he said.

The declaration, according to UK technology minister Michelle Donelan, “really outlines for the first time the world coming together to identify this problem.”

The declaration comes shortly after the United Kingdom and the United States announced their plans to establish their own institutes to examine and minimize the hazards of the rapidly evolving technology.

The latest models have provided a look into the promise of so-called frontier AI, but they have also raised concerns about issues ranging from job losses to cyber assaults and the level of control that people have over the systems.

While the potential of AI is exciting, especially in medicine, its progress is considered as mainly unregulated.

In a speech in London on Wednesday, US Vice President Kamala Harris encouraged that “we seize this moment” and “work together to build a future where AI creates opportunity and advances equity” while preserving rights.

She plans to attend the summit on Thursday, but lawyer and investigator Cori Crider, a champion for “fair” technology, has cautioned that it may be “a bit of a talking shop.”

“If he were serious about safety, Rishi Sunak needed to roll deep and bring all of the UK majors and regulators in tow and he hasn’t,” she told a San Francisco news conference.

The G7 powers agreed on a non-binding “code of conduct” for corporations creating the most advanced AI systems on Monday, ahead of the meeting.

Ministers from Italy, Germany, and France met in Rome to advocate for a “innovation-friendly approach” to AI regulation in Europe, as they urged more investment to compete with the United States and China.

China was also expected to attend, though it was unknown at what level.

According to the news website Politico, London invited President Xi Jinping to demonstrate its desire for a senior representative.

The invitation has raised concerns in the midst of rising tensions between China and Western nations, as well as allegations of technology espionage.

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