Managing AI risks is ‘profound responsibility’, Sunak will tell world leaders

The Prime Minister will warn about the risks and highlight the opportunities of artificial intelligence at a summit in Seoul on Tuesday.

David Hughes
Monday 20 May 2024 09:46 BST
Managing the risks of artificial intelligence is a major responsibility, the PM has said (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Managing the risks of artificial intelligence is a major responsibility, the PM has said (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Wire)

Managing the risks posed by artificial intelligence is “one of the most profound responsibilities” faced by world leaders, Rishi Sunak will tell a major summit on the technology.

The Prime Minister will say that successfully managing AI will create major opportunities for human progress.

In a message to leaders and tech bosses gathered in Seoul, South Korea, Mr Sunak will stress the need to “work together to ensure it is safe”.

Mr Sunak and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol will co-host a virtual session on Tuesday as the two-day Seoul summit begins.

Participants at the gathering include global statesmen, academics and AI firms including Microsoft, Google DeepMind, OpenAI and Anthropic.

Tech Secretary Michelle Donelan will be in Seoul for the summit focused on AI safety, sustainability and resilience.

In his remote address, Mr Sunak is expected to say: “To unlock the benefits of AI, we must also work together to ensure it is safe. Because safe AI is innovative AI.”

The summit follows the first such gathering at Bletchley Park, the home of the UK’s Second World War codebreakers, in November.

Mr Sunak will say: “We made history with the Bletchley Park summit at the end of last year. Together, we committed to build a consensus on the risks of AI to develop an independent, international AI safety report and to take greater action to counter the frontier risks.

“Managing the risks of AI is one of the most profound responsibilities we face. Because if we get it right, it will also create the most profound opportunities for human progress that we have seen in our lifetimes.”

The summit comes as debate around the need for, and scale of, AI regulation has intensified in countries around the world.

A report published earlier this week by international experts said general purpose AI could boost wellbeing, prosperity and scientific research in the future, but also power widespread disinformation and fraud, disrupt jobs and reinforce inequality.

The report was the first produced by the International Scientific Report on Advanced AI Safety and was carried out by AI experts from 30 countries – including the UK, US and China – as well as the UN and the EU.

As well as highlighting the potential benefits and risks of the technology, it warns there is not universal agreement among experts on a range of topics around AI, including the state of current AI capabilities and how those could evolve over time, and the likelihood of extreme risks – such as losing control over the technology – occurring.

The business opportunities from AI have been illustrated by self-driving car technology company Wayve’s success in securing 1.05 billion US dollars (£837 million) in funding and cloud computing firm CoreWeave’s £1 billion investment in the UK.

A Whitehall source said: “Britain continues to show global leadership on one of the defining technological and societal challenges of our age.

“Just this week, we saw new models launch that can identify emotions from visual expressions, create computer-generated footage based only on written prompts and even flirt.

“But, managed safely, AI will continue improving our quality of life and growing our economy, just as we saw the other week with £2 billion of investment from just two AI companies alone.

“Safety is a joint, international venture and one that the UK kicked off with Bletchley – Seoul is the next step before the French summit next year.”

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