Invite China to your AI summit, senior Tory MPs tell Rishi Sunak

Call for global ‘buy-in’ on regulations on new technology

Kate Devlin
Thursday 08 June 2023 16:19 BST
Rishi Sunak reveals he'd be 'comfortable' with letting robot teaching his children

Senior Conservative MPs have urged Rishi Sunak to invite China to his flagship artificial intelligence (AI) summit this autumn.

The UK will host the event, the first of its kind as the world seeks to regulate the powerful new technology. Earlier this week the prime minister’s technology advisor warned that AI could become powerful enough to “kill many humans” in only two years’ time.

On a trip to Washington, Mr Sunak said Britain was "well-placed" to take a leading role on the issue.

Despite the global nature of the risk, No 10 has only said that “like-mind countries” will be invited, suggesting China will be excluded.

Tobias Ellwood, the chair of the Commons defence committee, said that China “absolutely” should be invited : “Like the advance of Nuclear power, we need to develop strict international rules on how AI is researched, harnessed and monitored for peaceful causes.

“If we don’t have total buy-in from the start the dangers of AI over humans is given space to develop and any threat won’t be contained by geographical borders.”

Alicia Kearns, the chair of the Commons foreign affairs committee, said: “We need to better understand their (China’s) AI capabilities and approach, and to seek to agree global standards.”

Meanwhile, a former national security advisor has said the UK should invest in AI-driven weapons systems to stop it falling behind other countries.

Lord Sedwill said AI was "the future of defence capability" and that the UK needed to invest in order to "punch its weight".

Earlier this week Matt Clifford warned that that even short-term risks from the technology were “pretty scary” and said the risk of humanity being wiped out by AI was "not zero".

No 10 declined to comment.

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