The government said on Thursday that Britain will host a two-day international meeting in November to discuss how artificial intelligence might be developed responsibly. On November 1-2, a “world first” meeting will take place at Bletchley Park, the site of the famous British codebreakers who broke the “Enigma” code used by Nazi Germany, hastening the end of World War II.
The National Museum of Computing, which has the greatest collection of operational vintage computers in the world, is also located there. The planned activity coincides with experts’ warnings about the risks of the new technology in the absence of regulation. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement that in order to fully take advantage of the great benefits presented by artificial intelligence, “we must grasp and address the risks to ensure that it develops safely in the years ahead.” On a trip to Washington in June, Sunak, who has referred to AI as “the defining technology of our time,” announced the meeting.
In the same month, OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, announced it would establish its first office outside of the US in London. The UK government hailed it as a “vote of confidence for Britain as an AI powerhouse” and praised the decision. In an effort to gain a seat at the table while the US and the EU work to create an AI code of conduct, Sunak wants a future global AI regulator to be headquartered in London.
Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, supports long-term institutional control but has cautioned that “heavy regulation” may slow the technology’s progress. According to his business, “London’s vibrant technology ecosystem and its exceptional talent make it the ideal location” to set up its first international office. In the UK, there are 50,000 people working in the AI industry.
“We can secure the swift international action we need for the safe and responsible growth of AI around the world,” continued Sunak. “With the combined strength of our international partners, growing AI industry, and expert academic community. With its ability to produce essays, poetry, and discussions from the shortest stimuli, ChatGPT shot to fame late last year. Common concerns have included the potential for chatbots to spread false information online, for biased algorithms to produce racist content, or for AI-powered automation to destroy entire industries. Along with “pandemics and nuclear war,” a group of business leaders and researchers, including Altman, even issued a warning earlier this year, urging governments to prioritize addressing possible hazards from AI.
The “cornerstone” of the UK’s approach to AI, according to UK Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan, would be international collaboration, which is already producing advancements in fields like health care and efforts to combat climate change. “We want leading countries and experts to agree at the summit on a shared approach to its safe use,” she said.