“AI risks to be taken seriously,” says UK Prime Minister

The UK government has publicly released a report on the potential positives and dangers associated with new cutting-edge AI technology

It goes without saying that the AI boom is having a huge impact on a number of industries. With the rate of adoption continuing to increase, organisations and global leaders from all over the world are actively looking for ways in which to leverage this AI technology into their business practices. 

However, in light of AI’s success, it is important to consider the possible, and likely, challenges that may occur due to the rapid development of these technologies. For example, job displacement and concerns about security and privacy are a very real threat, as well as promoting awareness on the potential legal, ethical, and societal ramifications of AI.

 AI brings new dangers and fears

Today at a press conference, UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, spoke about the transformative potential of AI across various fields, from diagnosing medical conditions to addressing societal challenges. However, he placed a strong emphasis on the fact that although AI brings both opportunities for economic growth and major advances in human capability, it also introduces new risks and fears. 

“I genuinely believe that technologies like AI will bring a transformation as far-reaching as the Industrial Revolution, the coming of electricity or the birth of the internet.” says Sunak. 

Expanding further, he highlighted that as with every new wave of technology, while it brings in a huge range of positive and beneficial aspects on a global scale, it also introduces new dangers and fears that have never been faced before.

“The responsible thing for me to do, is to address those fears head-on, giving you the peace of mind that we will keep you safe while making sure that you and your children have all the opportunities for a better future that AI can bring,” explains Sunak.

“That's why today, for the first time, we've taken the highly unusual step of publishing our analysis on the risks of AI, including an assessment by the UK intelligence communities. These reports provide a stark warning, get this wrong, and AI could make it easier to build chemical or biological weapons. Terrorist groups could use AI to spread fear and destruction on an even greater scale. Criminals could exploit AI for cyber attacks, disinformation, fraud, or even child sexual abuse. 

“And in the most unlikely but extreme cases, there is even the risk that humanity could lose control of AI completely through the kind of AI sometimes referred to as superintelligence.”

What is being done to safeguard against AI threats?

Sunak touches upon how ‘AI doesn’t respect borders’, and that collaboration between the world’s leading powers is crucial going forward. This is why the world's first-ever Global AI Safety Summit which will take place next week at Bletchley Park, signifies the level of commitment and dedication towards safeguarding the world from AI threats.

The summit will bring together global leaders and technology experts from across the world, to discuss in detail the appropriate regulation for AI technology. It will focus on addressing the potential misuse of AI by malicious individuals, including cyberattacks and bioweapon development, as well as the risks associated with the loss of AI control.

“We're bringing together the world's leading representatives from civil society to the company's pioneering AI, and the country's most advanced in using it. And yes, we’ve invited China.”

Sunak points out that there can be no serious strategy for AI without at least trying to engage all of the world's leading AI powers. He says: “That might not have been the easy thing to do, but it was the right thing to do.”

The future is AI-safe

When looking to the future, Sunak noted how the UK is truly at the forefront of safeguarding against AI risks, by building world-leading capabilities to understand and evaluate the safety of AI models within the government.

“I’m completely confident in telling you that the UK is doing far more than any other country to keep you safe.” he expressed.

He outlines that there are three specific actions to keep people safe: not rushing to regulate AI, investing in understanding and evaluating AI safety within the government and building world-leading capabilities for AI safety assessment, including significant funding and expert recruitment.

“We’ve already invested UK£100m (US$120m) in a new task force – more funding for AI safety than any other country in the world,” he explains. “And we’ve recruited some of the most respected and knowledgeable figures in the world of AI.

“And that's not just about having the technical skills, but the raw computing power. That's why we're investing almost UK£1 billion (US$1.21bn) in a supercomputer and investing UK£2.5bn (US$3.02bn) in quantum computers, which can be exponentially quicker than those computers still.”

Sunak concludes by saying, “If harnessed in the right way, the power and possibility of this technology could dwarf anything any of us have achieved in a generation.”

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Other magazines that may be of interest - Technology Magazine | Cyber Magazine.

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