Countries agree to responsible AI development in Bletchley Declaration

Artificial Intelligence, News

  • For the first time, 28 countries convened by the UK and including the US, EU and China agree opportunities, risks and need for international action on frontier AI – systems where we face the most urgent and dangerous risks.
  • Driving forward key summit objectives on understanding of the risks and establishing further global collaboration, crucial talks are underway at Bletchley Park.
  • Consensus on need for sustained international co-operation sees next summit hosts confirmed.

The UK, US, EU, Australia and China have all agreed that artificial intelligence poses a potentially catastrophic risk to humanity, in the first international declaration to deal with the fast-emerging technology.

In total, twenty-eight governments signed up to the so-called Bletchley declaration on the first day of the AI safety summit, hosted by the British government. The countries agreed to work together on AI safety research, even amid signs that the US and UK are competing to take the lead over developing new regulations.

The Bletchley Declaration on AI safety sees 28 countries from across the globe including in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, as well as the EU, agreeing to the urgent need to understand and collectively manage potential risks through a new joint global effort to ensure AI is developed and deployed in a safe, responsible way for the benefit of the global community.

Countries endorsing the Declaration also included Brazil, France, India, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates.

The Declaration fulfils key summit objectives in establishing shared agreement and responsibility on the risks, opportunities and a forward process for international collaboration on frontier AI safety and research, particularly through greater scientific collaboration, claims the UK government. Talks today, with leading frontier AI companies and experts from academia and civil society, will see further discussions on understanding frontier AI risks and improving frontier AI safety.

Countries agreed substantial risks may arise from potential intentional misuse or unintended issues of control of frontier AI, with particular concern caused by cybersecurity, biotechnology and misinformation risks. The Declaration sets out agreement that there is “potential for serious, even catastrophic, harm, either deliberate or unintentional, stemming from the most significant capabilities of these AI models.” Countries also noted the risks beyond frontier AI, including bias and privacy.

Recognising the need to deepen the understanding of risks and capabilities that are not fully understood, attendees have also agreed to work together to support a network of scientific research on Frontier AI safety. This builds on the UK Prime Minister’s announcement last week for the UK to establish the world’s first AI Safety Institute and complements existing international efforts including at the G7, OECD, Council of Europe, United Nations and the Global Partnership on AI.

Says Prime Minister Rishi Sunak:

“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 twenty-five 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.”

Adds Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan:

“Today’s agreement signed by attendees from across the globe, offers an important first step as we begin two 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.”     

To mark the opening of the Summit, King Charles delivered a virtual address, via video to the AI Safety Summit. He pointed to AI being one of the ‘greatest technological leaps in the history of human endeavour’ and hailed the technology’s enormous potential to transform the lives of citizens across the world through better treatments for conditions like cancer and heart disease.

However, he also spoke of the ‘clear imperative to ensure that this rapidly evolving technology remains safe and secure’ and the need for ‘international coordination and collaboration’. See his address below:


Chris Price
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