World leaders gather at UK AI summit Doom is on the agenda.

LONDON When British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak first announced his plans to host a global AI summit in June, policymakers were in panic mode.

Hundreds of scientists and technology executives signed a one-sentence letter urging regulators to recognize the threat of AI extinction as a threat similar to a pandemic or nuclear war. But lawmakers were just beginning to consider how to respond to the rise of advanced chatbots like ChatGPT.

In his first visit to the White House days after the letters were released, Sunak argued that the event would unite world leaders on the booming technology and help them reap the benefits of artificial intelligence while limiting its risks. .

Sunak said the United States and Britain are the world’s leading democratic AI powers, far from President Biden in the East Room of the White House. So today, President Biden and I agreed to work together on AI safety.

But the summit, which begins on Wednesday, has instead highlighted divergent priorities between 10 Downing Street and the White House. Sunak has focused his rhetoric on doomsday scenarios, warning in a speech on Thursday of the highly unlikely possibility that humanity could completely lose control of artificial intelligence. Meanwhile, the White House has focused its efforts on concrete problems, issuing a sweeping executive order on Monday aimed at preventing escalating bias, displacing workers and undermining national security.

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The meeting will be attended by world leaders including Vice President Harris, technology executives including Tesla CEO Elon Musk and leading AI scientists and civil society groups traveling to Bletchley Park, the secret home of the famous World War II codebreakers who The messages of the Nazis were decoded, it begins.

Despite warnings from Sunaks that AI could be used to make chemical weapons or spread child sexual abuse, the UK has taken a soft approach to regulation to date. Sunak has been trying to position the country as the world’s third AI power, after the United States and China.

In her speech, Sunak said the UK’s response was not to rush into regulation.

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Many researchers and civil society leaders argue that Sunaks’ position is a strategic move to prosecute influential tech companies as the pound falls and the economy heads into recession. Unproven hyperintelligence claims can distract policymakers from new laws to address existing problems, instead focusing attention on the still-understood dangers of AI-powered weapons and hyperintelligence.

Maritje Schacke, a former member of the European Parliament and special advisor to the European Commission on the implementation of the Digital Services Act, said that artificial intelligence is not the future, but that it has already created problems. We need democratic regulation and independent oversight.

Amid concerns that the UK guest list lists too many industry leaders, Harris’ office has a role in ensuring civil society leaders are invited to the event, according to a person familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the effort. held a meeting. . Alexandra Reeve Givens, executive director of the Center for Democracy and Technology; Artificial intelligence researcher Deb Raji; and Alondra Nelson, who previously led the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, are expected to attend.

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Britain has struggled to connect in a post-Brexit world, trying to differentiate its policies from the EU’s offensive line against US tech giants. Domestically, the push for AI regulation is seen as a deeply unpopular image for Sunak, especially as his Conservative Party prepares for an election by January 2025 at the latest. Observers say that this summit and its AI policy in general is an attempt to achieve that goal. Reclaiming influence and an obvious economic calculation.

The stakes are high: the UK AI market is worth more than $21 billion and is estimated to add $1 trillion to the UK economy by 2035, according to a September 2022 report by the International Trade Office.

Even amid his warnings about artificial intelligence taking over, Sunak is seen as tech-friendly. The UK has shown a reticent approach to artificial intelligence by unveiling a white paper entitled A pro-innovation approach to AI regulation.

In his speech on Thursday, Sunak announced the creation of a global AI safety institute in the UK that will carefully examine, evaluate and test new types of AI. He provided few details about how the agency would operate and whether there are legal requirements for companies to submit their models for evaluation. Sunak said the UK government had invested £1bn in supercomputers, £2.5bn in quantum computers and he announced a £100m investment in using artificial intelligence to discover cures for diseases.

This influx of funding could make the UK an even more attractive destination for AI development and jobs: already, leading generative AI companies Anthropic and OpenAI have opened offices in London in the past year.

Joe White, Britain’s technology representative to the US, said the prime minister chose to focus on existential risk so as not to duplicate what was happening in other forums such as the Group of Seven. The Group of 7, which includes the United States and Britain, on Monday unveiled a code of conduct for companies making artificial intelligence systems that has similar principles to Biden’s executive order but is entirely voluntary.

This is a new class of challenge that we collectively face as a global community, White said, adding that the summit is focused on making sure AI systems don’t get out of control.

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Even while the UK and the US show different AI priorities, these countries still share some common ground. The executive order directed agencies that fund life science projects to take steps to prevent artificial intelligence from being used to engineer dangerous biological materials. British Ambassador to the US Karen Pearce said the new measures make an important contribution to our shared international agenda on AI safety.

Industry leaders have praised Sonax’s focus for the meeting. Making sure the long-term risk of super-intelligent AI is understood and controlled is just as important as trying to mitigate short-term risks such as bias and misinformation, said Demis Hasabis, CEO of DeepMind, Google’s AI division.

You don’t want to wait until the threshold of AGI to talk about the risk of AGI, Hassabis said, referring to artificial general intelligence, an industry term for theorized artificial intelligence that matches or exceeds human intelligence.

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By holding the summit at Bletchley Park, the one-time top-secret home of Alan Turing and other World War II-era cryptographers, the Brits are sending a symbolic message of their storied place in technological history, while trying to present themselves as a vital part of it. the future.

However, the UK lags far behind the US in AI industrial prowess, and as a result has different regulatory priorities. The United States has emerged as a world leader in artificial intelligence, as the launch of OpenAIs ChatGPT and other American companies generating artificial intelligence products has drawn international awe and admiration.

Reggie Babin, senior counsel at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, who previously served as senior counsel to Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) served, said that our friends in the UK have invested heavily in the growth of this sector. There may be caution in limiting what can be done now to ensure that you can maximize what you can do later.

In the European Union, lawmakers are taking the final steps on sweeping artificial intelligence rules that would ban risky algorithms and impose hefty fines on violators. Policymakers there have been working on their AI laws for about five years, dismissing Britain’s response as short-sighted.

“It doesn’t make sense to say yes, you see a significant risk from AI, and then do nothing about it,” said Dragos Todorache, one of the rapporteurs of the European Parliament’s AI committee.

He said Sunak really sounded the alarm bells after an open letter in March from 1,000 tech industry leaders, including Musk, warned about the dangers of artificial intelligence.

Until then, everyone in Britain was asleep at the wheel, from parliament to the executive.

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