Deputy PM Oliver Dowden kicks off ‘global’ AI summit at wartime codebreaker base Bletchley Park as Nick Clegg claims risks are overblown – but government is still tight-lipped about who is coming
Politicians and tech moguls will gather at Bletchley Park today as Oliver Dowden kicks off the first ever AI safety summit.
The Deputy PM is launching the conference at the historic wartime codebreaker base as experts wrangle over the scale of the risks from the emerging technology – and how to minimise them.
Billionaire Elon Musk, who has warned about the potential dangers, will be attending tomorrow. But Lib Dem leader turned Facebook executive Nick Clegg insisted this morning that the pitfalls had been overblown, and urged governments to avoid heavy-handed regulation.
The guest list for the event is still not entirely clear, with Downing Street forced to deny the summit is being snubbed by world leaders.
Neither US President Joe Biden nor French President Emmanuel Macron will be there, but Vice President Kamala Harris will represent the US and EU commission chief Ursula von der Leyen will speak on behalf of the bloc.
Another unknown is who will represent China, although ministers have confirmed that the Asian superpower has been invited.
Politicians and tech moguls will gather at Bletchley Park today as Oliver Dowden (pictured) kicks off the first ever AI safety summit
Roundtable discussions on frontier AI safety will take place on the first day of the gathering at Bletchley Park, near Milton Keynes, which was home to the UK’s Second World War codebreakers
Billionaire Elon Musk , who has warned about the potential dangers, will be attending tomorrow
The summit was originally billed by Mr Sunak as a chance for the UK to lead the world in establishing agreement on the safe use of AI technology, after he set out his ambition for the UK to become the ‘geographical home of global AI safety regulation’ in the summer.
Conflict in the Middle East has since fixed the attention of world leaders, and in the US, President Biden has signed an executive order to ‘ensure that America leads the way in seizing the promise and managing the risks of artificial intelligence’.
But the UK Government has insisted the summit has merit, with a guest list including pioneering AI companies like UK-based Deep Mind, as well as OpenAI, and Anthropic.
Mr Musk, the Tesla CEO and owner of the social media site X, will join the PM for a live interview after the summit closes tomorrow.
Mr Musk, a co-founder of OpenAI – the company behind the popular ChatGPT tool – has previously expressed concerns about the possibility of AI becoming hostile towards humans.
Michelle Donelan, the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, said: ‘AI is already an extraordinary force for good in our society, with limitless opportunity to grow the global economy, deliver better public services and tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges.
‘But the risks posed by frontier AI are serious and substantive and it is critical that we work together, both across sectors and countries to recognise these risks.
‘This summit provides an opportunity for us to ensure we have the right people with the right expertise gathered around the table to discuss how we can mitigate these risks moving forward.
‘Only then will we be able to truly reap the benefits of this transformative technology in a responsible manner.’
Roundtable discussions on frontier AI safety will take place on the first day of the gathering at Bletchley Park, near Milton Keynes, which was home to the UK’s Second World War codebreakers.
Alongside tech companies, civil society groups and experts from the Alan Turing Institute, and the Ada Lovelace Institute will be present.
The second day of the summit will focus on the responsible use of AI technology.
As the conference begins, the UK Government has meanwhile pledged £38 million towards funding artificial intelligence projects around the world, starting in Africa.
The commitment is part of an £80 million collaboration between Britain, Canada and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to boost ‘safe and responsible’ programming, the Foreign Office said.
On the eve of the AI Safety Summit, Turing award winner Yoshua Bengio has signed an open letter warning the danger it poses ‘warrants immediate and serious attention’
Elon Musk’s hatred of AI explained: Billionaire believes it will spell the end of humans – a fear Stephen Hawking shared
Elon Musk wants to push technology to its absolute limit, from space travel to self-driving cars — but he draws the line at artificial intelligence.
The billionaire first shared his distaste for AI in 2014, calling it humanity’s ‘biggest existential threat’ and comparing it to ‘summoning the demon.’
At the time, Musk also revealed he was investing in AI companies not to make money but to keep an eye on the technology in case it gets out of hand.
His main fear is that in the wrong hands, if AI becomes advanced, it could overtake humans and spell the end of mankind, which is known as The Singularity.
That concern is shared among many brilliant minds, including the late Stephen Hawking, who told the BBC in 2014: ‘The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.
‘It would take off on its own and redesign itself at an ever-increasing rate.’
Despite his fear of AI, Musk has invested in the San Francisco-based AI group Vicarious, in DeepMind, which has since been acquired by Google, and OpenAI, creating the popular ChatGPT program that has taken the world by storm in recent months.
During a 2016 interview, Musk noted that he and OpenAI created the company to ‘have democratisation of AI technology to make it widely available.’
Musk founded OpenAI with Sam Altman, the company’s CEO, but in 2018 the billionaire attempted to take control of the start-up.
His request was rejected, forcing him to quit OpenAI and move on with his other projects.
In November, OpenAI launched ChatGPT, which became an instant success worldwide.
The chatbot uses ‘large language model’ software to train itself by scouring a massive amount of text data so it can learn to generate eerily human-like text in response to a given prompt.
ChatGPT is used to write research papers, books, news articles, emails and more.
But while Altman is basking in its glory, Musk is attacking ChatGPT.
He says the AI is ‘woke’ and deviates from OpenAI’s original non-profit mission.
‘OpenAI was created as an open source (which is why I named it ‘Open’ AI), non-profit company to serve as a counterweight to Google, but now it has become a closed source, maximum-profit company effectively controlled by Microsoft, Musk tweeted in February.
The Singularity is making waves worldwide as artificial intelligence advances in ways only seen in science fiction – but what does it actually mean?
In simple terms, it describes a hypothetical future where technology surpasses human intelligence and changes the path of our evolution.
Experts have said that once AI reaches this point, it will be able to innovate much faster than humans.
There are two ways the advancement could play out, with the first leading to humans and machines working together to create a world better suited for humanity.
For example, humans could scan their consciousness and store it in a computer in which they will live forever.
The second scenario is that AI becomes more powerful than humans, taking control and making humans its slaves – but if this is true, it is far off in the distant future.
Researchers are now looking for signs of AI reaching The Singularity, such as the technology’s ability to translate speech with the accuracy of a human and perform tasks faster.
Former Google engineer Ray Kurzweil predicts it will be reached by 2045.
He has made 147 predictions about technology advancements since the early 1990s – and 86 per cent have been correct.
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