BLETCHLEY PARK, England (AP) — U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak are set to join senior politicians from around the world on Thursday at a U.K. summit focused on containing risks from rapid advances in cutting-edge artificial intelligence.
Sunak organized the first-ever AI Safety Summit as a forum for officials, experts and the tech industry to better understand “frontier” AI that some scientists warn could pose a risk to humanity’s very existence.
The leaders of the United Nations and the European Union joined talks on the second day of the meeting, held at a former codebreaking spy base near London. It kicked off on Wednesday with an agreement signed by 28 nations, including the U.S. and China, to work toward “shared agreement and responsibility” about AI risks, and a plan to hold further meetings in South Korea and France over the next year.
Binding regulation for AI is not among the summit's goals. Sunak has said that the U.K.'s approach should not be to rush into regulation but to fully understand AI first.
Harris emphasized the U.S. administration's more hands-on approach in a speech at the U.S. embassy on Wednesday, saying the world needs to act right away to address “the full spectrum” of AI risks, not just existential threats such as massive cyberattacks or AI-formulated bioweapons.
She announced a new U.S. AI safety institute to draw up standards for testing AI models for public use. Sunak had proposed his own AI safety institute, with a similar role, days earlier.
Sunak has also proposed a global expert panel on AI, similar to the United Nations climate change panel. The British leader, who met U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at the summit on Thursday, is expected to provide more details of the proposal.
He's also scheduled to discuss AI with Tesla CEO Elon Musk in a conversation that will be played on the social network X, which Musk owns, after the summit ends.
Musk is among tech executives who have warned that AI could pose a risk to humanity's future.
“Here we are for the first time, really in human history, with something that is going to be far more intelligent than us,” Musk said at the summit. “It’s not clear to me if we can control such a thing.”
Sunak said it was important not to be “alarmist” about the technology, which could bring huge benefits.
“But there is a case to believe that it may pose a risk on a scale like pandemics and nuclear war, and that’s why, as leaders, we have a responsibility to act to take the steps to protect people, and that’s exactly what we’re doing," he said.