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AI Safety Summit: India, China, US and EU agree to work together

This technology, powered by natural language processing tools, has ignited concerns, even among AI pioneers, that machines may eventually surpass human intelligence, leading to unforeseen and far-reaching consequences.

London, UK, November 04:  India, China, the United States, the European Union, and other countries agreed to work together to collectively manage the risks associated with artificial intelligence (AI) at a London summit held on Wednesday.

The summit’s purpose was to chart a safe way forward for this rapidly evolving technology.

Some tech executives and political leaders have warned that the rapid development of AI poses an existential threat to the world if left uncontrolled, sparking a race among governments and international institutions to design safeguards and regulations.

In the first international effort to manage its safe development, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the Indian Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, joined global leaders and tech executives, including Elon Musk and ChatGPT CEO Sam Altman, at Bletchley Park, the historic site of Britain’s World War Two code-breakers.

A total of 28 countries signed the “Bletchley Declaration,” which emphasized the importance of international cooperation and the establishment of a unified approach to AI oversight.

The declaration outlined a dual-pronged agenda, with a primary focus on identifying shared concerns and advancing scientific understanding of AI risks. Simultaneously, it emphasized the necessity of developing cross-country policies to mitigate these risks.

The declaration states: ‘We affirm that while safety must be a fundamental consideration throughout the AI lifecycle, those involved in pioneering AI capabilities, especially those AI systems possessing extraordinary power and potential for harm, bear significant responsibility for ensuring the safety of such systems. This includes the implementation of safety testing, rigorous evaluations, and other appropriate measures.’

Concerns about the potential impact of AI on economies and society gained prominence in November of last year when Microsoft-backed OpenAI, a division of Microsoft (MSFT.O), released ChatGPT to the public.

This technology, powered by natural language processing tools, has ignited concerns, even among AI pioneers, that machines may eventually surpass human intelligence, leading to unforeseen and far-reaching consequences.

Mustafa Suleyman, the co-founder of Google DeepMind, expressed his belief to reporters that current AI frontier models do not pose any ‘significant catastrophic harms.’ Nonetheless, he emphasized the importance of proactive planning as the industry continues to develop increasingly larger AI models.

Wu Zhaohui, China’s Vice Minister of Science and Technology, addressed the opening session of the two-day summit, emphasizing Beijing’s commitment to enhancing collaboration in the field of AI safety to contribute to the development of an international governance framework.

However, concerns were raised prior to the summit by several British lawmakers regarding China’s participation, citing the low level of trust between Beijing and Washington, as well as certain European nations. These concerns were particularly pertinent in the context of China’s alleged tech conflicts with the Western world.

The AI Safety Summit, conceived by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, aims to position the United Kingdom as an intermediary between the United States, China, and the EU in a post-Brexit landscape.

The summit is the brainchild of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who envisions a post-Brexit role for his country as a mediator between the economic blocs of the United States, China, and the EU.

British Digital Minister Michelle Donelan hailed the gathering as an accomplishment in bringing together so many key stakeholders in one room. She also announced plans for two additional AI Safety Summits, with one scheduled to take place in South Korea in six months, followed by another in France six months later.

Most importantly, the remarkable display of global unity in addressing the safe utilization of AI technology underscores the world’s collective commitment to recognizing the potential threats posed by AI and the potentially catastrophic consequences of its misuse.

However, it is imperative to note that the inclusion of more voices from the Global South is essential to ensure that such declarations are more democratic and less imposed, as many countries in the Global South are significantly impacted by the advancements in AI technology.

Ensuring a more inclusive and representative dialogue on AI safety will be pivotal in shaping a balanced and equitable future for this transformative technology.

(With inputs from agencies)

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