Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Monday, December 4, 2023

AI Safety Summit 2023 – Understanding Global AI Risks 

The AI Safety Summit 2023 is set to take place on 1st and 2nd November at the iconic Bletchley Park in the U.K. Some of the world's leading tech companies, AI experts, government officials, and civil society groups are taking part in the summit. The primary agenda at the summit is to highlight the risks of artificial intelligence with a focus on frontier AI and discuss how these risks can be mitigated through internationally coordinated actions. 

Frontier models are highly advanced AI foundation models that hold enormous potential to power innovation, economic growth, and scientific progress. Unfortunately, frontier models also possess highly dangerous capabilities. Through misuse or accident, foundation models can cause significant harm and destruction on a global scale. 

Understanding the risks posed by frontier AI is a key objective at the AI Safety Summit 2023. The goal is to have the world's leading minds on AI technology convene and discuss methods and strategies for international collaboration for AI safety. Another key objective at the summit is to showcase how the safety development of AI will help enable AI to be used for good globally. This will help promote innovation and growth of AI technology.  

Rishi Sunak Warns of AI Dangers 

Speaking ahead of the AI Safety Summit 2023, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that governments must realize that they have the power to tackle risks posed by AI. Sunak emphasized the risks posed by AI include the capability to make weapons of mass destruction, spread misinformation and propaganda, and even escape human control. He also announced that Britain will set up an AI safety institute to gain a better understanding of different AI models, and how the risks posed by AI can be mitigated. 

Sunak compared the rapid advances in AI technology to the industrial revolution, and warned that if government-level action is not taken, AI technology could make cyberattacks “faster, more effective, and large scale.” He also highlighted that misuse of AI could lead to “erosion of trust information”. 

According to Sunak, deepfakes and hyper-realistic bots can be used to manipulate financial markets, spread fake news, and even undermine the criminal justice system. Sunak believes that AI could disrupt the labor market by displacing human workers and suggested a “robot tax” on businesses profiting from the replacement of workers by AI. 

The summit is set to host key figures from around the globe including Google DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis, U.S. Vice President, Kamala Harris, and other leaders from G7 economies. China has been invited to the summit, but there has been no confirmation if their representative will attend the summit. 

Oxford AI Experts Disagree with Sunak 

(Blue Planet Studio/Shutterstock)

Brent Mittelstadt, Associate Professor and Director of Research at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford disagrees with Sunak’s view that the UK should not be in a rush to regulate AI due to a lack of proper understanding of the technology. Mittelstadt believes that an incredible range of research has been completed on AI technology is enough to start regulating the industry. 

According to Mittelstadt, not taking a proactive approach to regulation will be a mistake, and it will allow the private sector and technology development to dictate when the regulation starts and how they are policied in the future. The government should be in charge of deciding when and how to regulate the industry. 

Carissa Veliz, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Philosophy and the Institute for Ethics in AI, University of Oxford is also concerned about Sunak’s remarks on AI technology. Veliz says that tech executives are not the right people to advise governments on how to regulate AI and Sunak’s views sounded similar to those voiced by big tech firms.  Several other AI experts at the University of Oxford share similar concerns and are urging the U.K. government to not delay regulating the AI industry. 

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