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Global leaders from 29 countries and the European Union met in Bletchley Park on Wednesday to discuss the risk of artificial intelligence and attempt to agree on how to manage the emerging technology. The first day of the AI Safety Summit culminated in the joint signing of a declaration that endorsed clamping down on unregulated AI development.
Given the transformative positive potential presented by the technology, the policymakers called the summit a unique moment to act and affirm the need to continue AI research—but to prioritize safety.
“Artificial Intelligence (AI) presents enormous global opportunities: it has the potential to transform and enhance human wellbeing, peace, and prosperity,” the so-called Bletchley Declaration said. “To realize this, we affirm that, for the good of all, AI should be designed, developed, deployed, and used in a manner that is safe, in such a way as to be human-centric, trustworthy, and responsible.”
The Bletchley Declaration emphasizes the importance of collectively identifying AI safety risks and fostering a science-based understanding of them, developing risk-based policies that are tailored to each country's unique circumstances and encouraging collaboration and transparency between governments.
“Many risks arising from AI are inherently international in nature, and so are best addressed through international cooperation,” the declaration said.
Ahead of the conference, U.S. President Joe Biden released a sweeping executive order regarding AI development in the United States.
In the executive order, Biden called for a coordinated approach to AI that involves government, the private sector, and academia. The executive order sets guidelines for AI evaluation but also aims to promote innovation, support American workers, and protect consumer privacy.
“My Administration cannot—and will not—tolerate the use of AI to disadvantage those who are already too often denied equal opportunity and justice,” Biden said.
Other countries signing the declaration include Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Nigeria, South Korea, Ukraine, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates.
“I look forward to the work that the United States and the United Kingdom will do together,” US Vice President Kamala Harris said during the AI Safety Summit. “I think we are doing the important work of providing some leadership around this exciting new technology, recognizing the potential benefits and the potential risks.”
Since the launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT last year and the more advanced GPT-4 in March, experts and policymakers have struggled to develop strategies to deal with the rapid entry of AI, particularly generative AI, into everyday life.
Generative AI refers to AI models that use prompts to generate text, images, music, and videos. Generative AI models have revolutionized how people interact with complex information and tasks. However, the technology is also used to spread misinformation and AI-generated deepfakes.
In June, the United Nations Secretary-General sounded the alarm about the use of AI deepfakes fueling hate and violence through disinformation, misinformation, and hate speech in warzones, saying business as usual is not an option.