AI Safety Summit: 28 countries sign 'Bletchley Declaration' on dealing with risks of artificial intelligence

AI Safety Summit: 28 countries sign 'Bletchley Declaration' on dealing with risks of artificial intelligence
Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events

Posted: Wed 1st Nov 2023

The government has announced that 28 countries have signed an agreement on the first day of AI Safety Summit to establish a shared understanding of the opportunities and risks posed by frontier AI.

Taking place at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire, home to code breakers during World War Two, the summit is being attended by politicians, entrepreneurs and technology companies from around the world.

Among them are billionaire and owner of X (formerly Twitter) Elon Musk, US vice president Kamala Harris, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, and Meta president of global affairs and former UK deputy prime minister Nick Clegg.

The 'Bletchley Declaration' is the first announcement from the event.

The document says "artificial intelligence presents enormous global opportunities" and "has the potential to transform and enhance human wellbeing, peace and prosperity." But alongside the opportunities, the declaration warns "AI also poses significant risks, including in those domains of daily life".

It says:

"Substantial risks may arise from potential intentional misuse or unintended issues of control relating to alignment with human intent. These issues are in part because those capabilities are not fully understood and are therefore hard to predict.

"We are especially concerned by such risks in domains such as cybersecurity and biotechnology, as well as where frontier AI systems may amplify risks such as disinformation. There is potential for serious, even catastrophic, harm, either deliberate or unintentional, stemming from the most significant capabilities of these AI models.

"Given the rapid and uncertain rate of change of AI, and in the context of the acceleration of investment in technology, we affirm that deepening our understanding of these potential risks and of actions to address them is especially urgent."

The countries signing the declaration says they "resolve to work together in an inclusive manner to ensure human-centric, trustworthy and responsible AI that is safe, and supports the good of all through existing international fora and other relevant initiatives, to promote cooperation to address the broad range of risks posed by AI."

  • identifying AI safety risks of shared concern, building a shared scientific and evidence-based understanding of these risks, and sustaining that understanding as capabilities continue to increase, in the context of a wider global approach to understanding the impact of AI in our societies.

  • building respective risk-based policies across our countries to ensure safety in light of such risks, collaborating as appropriate while recognising our approaches may differ based on national circumstances and applicable legal frameworks. This includes, alongside increased transparency by private actors developing frontier AI capabilities, appropriate evaluation metrics, tools for safety testing, and developing relevant public sector capability and scientific research.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak said:

"This is a landmark achievement that sees the world’s greatest AI powers agree on the urgency behind understanding the risks of AI – helping ensure the long-term future of our children and grandchildren.

"Under the UK’s leadership, more than 25 countries at the AI Safety Summit have stated a shared responsibility to address AI risks and take forward vital international collaboration on frontier AI safety and research.

"The UK is once again leading the world at the forefront of this new technological frontier by kickstarting this conversation, which will see us work together to make AI safe and realise all its benefits for generations to come."

Technology secretary Michelle Donelan, added:

"Today’s agreement signed by attendees from across the globe, offers an important first step as we begin 2 days of vitally important discussions here at Bletchley Park.

"We have always said that no single country can face down the challenges and risks posed by AI alone, and today’s landmark Declaration marks the start of a new global effort to build public trust by ensuring the technology’s safe development.

"Bletchley Park marks the start of a long road ahead, and the Summit will kickstart an enduring process to ensure every nation and every citizen can realise the boundless benefits of AI."

The countries that have signed the declaration are Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Netherlands, Nigeria, The Philippines, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Türkiye, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America.

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Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events
I'm a freelance journalist and event host who helps small businesses and the organisations that support them. I'm also Enterprise Nation's news reporter and Bristol Local Leader. I have 20 years of experience as a small business journalist having interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs from famous names like Sir Richard Branson and Deborah Meaden to the founders behind brand new start-ups. I've worked for a range of leading small business publications and support groups, most recently as head of content at Enterprise Nation where I was responsible for the prolific output of content on the company's blog and social media. I now freelance for Enterprise Nation as the website's news reporter and as the host of the Small Business sessions podcast. I'm based in Bristol where I run and host regular events with the local small business community in my role as Enterprise Nation's Local Leader for Bristol. I also have strong connections with other major business organisations in the south west region. In total, I've hosted over 100 events including conferences with an audience of hundreds for international brands like Xero and Facebook and live web chats from inside 10 Downing Street. With my partner, I co-run Lifestyle District, a lifestyle blog focused on culture, art, theatre and photography.

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