Artificial Intelligence

Government calls on businesses, academics, and charities to take AI action

25th September 2023
Harry Fowle

Leading civil society groups and tech bodies are partnering with the UK Government to host a series of events in the run-up to the UK hosting the world’s first summit on AI safety.

With nearly a month to go, the government wants to hear from a broad range of individuals and organisations, such as academics and charities. The government wants to make sure wider important issues in relation to AI are considered alongside the Summit’s key focus on frontier safety issues.

One of the government’s key objectives for the Summit is to identify and seize the opportunities of ‘AI for good’ - helping to improve public services like the NHS and education. 

Those set to hold events over the coming weeks include The Alan Turing Institute, Royal Society, techUK and British Academy - with everything from how the technology can be used to improve lives, such as by transforming healthcare, to the risks it presents to global governance, on the agenda.

It comes as the UK Government reveals further details on issues the Summit will look to address. As outlined today, the Summit’s focus will be on frontier AI where the risks are most urgent given how quickly it is evolving. 

Within this, there are two areas the summit will particularly focus on: misuse risks, for example where a bad actor is aided by new AI capabilities in biological or cyber-attacks, and loss of control risks that could emerge from advanced systems that we would seek to be aligned with our values and intentions.

The focus on this type of AI is driven by an urgent need for a conversation on how nations can work together to meet the novel challenges these risks pose, combat misuse of models, and utilise AI to do real, tangible public good across the world – from curing disease to improving education.

It comes as the UK Government warns that the pace of change in this technology means urgent action on AI safety is needed, adding we are at a crossroads in human history and to turn the other way would be a monumental missed opportunity for mankind.

Given artificial intelligence will shape everyone’s life in some way, the government is also calling on members of the public around the world to get involved in a global conversation through a new programme of webinars and online engagements, led by leading figures like the Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan and the Prime Minister’s Representative Matt Clifford.

Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan said: “In a matter of weeks, we will be hosting crucial talks on how we can manage risks emerging from the most immediate and rapid advances in AI – so we combat its misuse and ensure we are seizing the opportunities for AI to transform our public services for the better.

“Artificial intelligence will undoubtedly transform our lives for the better if we grip the risks. We want organisations to consider how AI will shape their work in the future and ensure that the UK is leading on the safe development of those tools. I am determined to keep the public informed and invested in shaping the direction we take, and these engagements will be an important part of that process. 

“The UK is consistently recognised as a world leader in AI, frequently ranking in the top three countries - and I have every confidence we can cement our position as the geographical home of AI.”

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