The United Kingdom is set to host an accelerated global summit on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in November, and it has been announced that China will be among the invitees. The UK’s global initiative seeks to bring global leaders, tech companies, and academics together to discuss the risks AI technology can pose.
In an announcement during a BBC interview, British Foreign Minister James Cleverly said: “We cannot keep the UK public safe from the risks of AI if we exclude one of the leading nations in AI tech.”
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has expressed his wish for the UK to become a global leader in AI regulation. In line with this, the summit brings together governments, tech companies, and academics to discuss the risks posed by AI technology.
In a statement on the summit, Cleverly said: “The UK’s approach to China is to protect our institutions and infrastructure, align with partners and engage where it is in the UK’s national interest.” This suggests that an invitation was made to China less as ‘an act of diplomacy’ and more to promote global empowerment for the safety of UK citizens.
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The summit is set to address topics such as how AI could undermine biosecurity and how it could be used for the public good, such as in helping to improve transport safety. Government officials have stated that they want a less ‘draconian’ approach to regulating AI technology, taking into account the more cautious and stringent regulations proposed by the EU’s AI Act.
In addition to the announcement, the government has appointed former senior diplomat Jonathan Black, along with tech expert Matt Clifford, to lead preparations for the summit. Regarding the summit, Clifford said: “I hope the UK summit sets the tone for future international debates on AI regulation, [which] cannot simply eliminate safety alsolute risks but should instead focus on risk prevention, risk acceptance and risk mitigation.”
The government’s decision to invite China has been viewed as both a move towards democracy and a display of ambition to foster international cooperation. It is hoped that the summit will prompt a more informed debate on AI regulation, and equip states with the tools to regulate the technology more effectively.