Other Author Oliver Jones, Trainee Solicitor
The UK Government is hosting the first ever global AI Safety Summit on 1 and 2 November 2023 at Bletchley Park. The venue—once the home of World War II Enigma codebreakers, including pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing—will host politicians, artificial intelligence (AI) companies, civil society groups, and academic and industry experts. The UK Government hopes that the international representatives will come to a shared understanding of the emerging risks associated with AI, which could inform how governments and businesses manage them.
Organisations using or licensing AI may expect the UK Government to publish a response to the AI White Paper consultation, and take steps to act upon the conclusions from the Summit. We expect that the discussions at the Summit may shape the AI regulatory landscape in the United Kingdom, and possibly more broadly, as governments around the world realise that a fragmented approach to regulation is insufficient to manage the emerging risks of frontier AI.
The Summit will focus on managing the risks from the most recent advances in AI. The UK Government believes that an “urgent international conversation” is needed, given the rapid pace at which the technology is developing.
Particular focus is on frontier AI, which refers to highly capable general-purpose AI models, most often foundation models, at the ‘frontier’ of AI development. These models can perform a wide variety of tasks and match or exceed the capabilities present in today’s most advanced AI systems.
The Summit has five key objectives, three of which focus on frontier AI:
- a shared understanding of the risks posed by frontier AI and the need for action;
- a forward process for international collaboration on frontier AI safety, including how best to support national and international frameworks;
- appropriate measures which individual organisations should take to increase frontier AI safety;
- areas for potential collaboration on AI safety research, including evaluating model capabilities and the development of new standards to support governance; and
- showcase how ensuring the safe development of AI will enable AI to be used for good globally.
The UK Government also published a discussion paper on the capabilities of, and risks from, frontier AI to aid the discussion at the Summit.
- Day 1 – The Summit will commence with opening remarks from the UK Government, other nations at the frontier of AI development and the UK’s Frontier AI Taskforce. Delegates will then break out for roundtable discussions regarding understanding and improving frontier AI risks. The day concludes with a panel discussion titled “AI for good – AI for the next generation”.
- Day 2 – The UK Prime Minister will convene a small group of governments, companies and experts to discuss what steps can be taken to address the risks in emerging AI technology and ensure it is used as a force for good. At the same time, Michelle Donelan, the UK Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, will reconvene international counterparts to agree next steps.
The Summit—though small, with a guest list numbering just 100—is the world’s first global AI safety summit, and highlights the UK Government’s intent to stay at the forefront of developments in AI. Alongside the Summit, AI Fringe is hosting a series of events across the UK which are open to wider participation from civil society, businesses, academics and the general public.
The Summit follows publication by the UK Government of the AI Policy Paper in July 2022 and the more detailed AI White Paper in March 2023. More recently, the UK Parliament’s interim report on the governance of AI, published on 31 August 2023, suggested that a tightly-focused AI bill in the next King’s Speech would help, not hinder, position the United Kingdom as an AI governance leader.
Presently, the UK Government’s proposed “pro-innovation” approach to regulating AI stands in stark contrast to that of the European Union, which is in the final stages of agreeing an EU-wide AI Act. However, with the King’s Speech scheduled to take place on 7 November 2023, and conclusions from each of the Summit’s roundtable discussions to be published after the event, businesses using or licensing AI should pay close attention to announcements from the UK Government over the next fortnight.