Artificial Intelligence

The UK and Republic of Korea to build on AI Summit

12th April 2024
Harry Fowle

The UK and the Republic of Korea are forging ahead with plans for the next wave of global discussions on the safe development of Artificial Intelligence, with the AI Seoul Summit set for 21st and 22nd May.

The Summit will spearhead discussions on AI safety, addressing the potential capabilities of the most advanced AI models, building on the Bletchley Declaration and wider agreements which were reached at the AI Safety Summit in the UK last November, which included commitments from developers on AI safety.

Countries will also gather for talks on how the technology can be made more inclusive, ensuring the benefits and opportunities of AI are shared equally – and how attendees can further advance innovation. AI innovations have already helped to realise important breakthroughs in areas such as healthcare and drug discovery, and is being used to increasing effect in other settings such as education and tackling climate change.

Day one of the AI Seoul Summit will see a virtual leaders’ session co-chaired by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Republic of Korea President Yoon Suk Yeol. A select number of global industry leaders will also be invited, to update on how they are fulfilling the commitments made at Bletchley Park to ensure the safety of their models. This comes ahead of an in-person meeting of Digital Ministers on the second day, which is co-hosted by UK Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan, and Korean Minister of Science and ICT Lee Jong-Ho.

Next month’s summit continues the legacy of the Bletchley Park discussions, capitalising on its momentum to once again bring international governments, AI companies, academia, and civil society together to advance the global AI safety agenda. This next round of talks comes at a critical time for the technology, with increasingly capable and advanced AI models expected to be released over the course of 2024.

UK Science, Innovation, and Technology Secretary, Michelle Donelan said: “The summit we held at Bletchley Park in November was a generational moment. We agreed the historic Bletchley Declaration and have ensured discussions around AI safely are firmly on the international agenda.

“If we continue to bring international governments and a broad range of voices together, I have every confidence that we can continue to develop a global approach which will allow us to realise the transformative potential of this generation-defining technology safely and responsibly.

“I am looking forward to building on the ‘Bletchley effect’ with this next round of talks in the Republic of Korea, who are perfectly placed with their rich history of technological innovation to advance the global conversation on AI safety.”

Minister Lee Jong-Ho of the Ministry of Science and ICT of the Republic of Korea said: “The AI Safety Summit held in Bletchley, UK last year marked a milestone in which the government, industry and academia coming together to address the potential risks of AI, and I am pleased that the Republic of Korea takes the baton from the UK.

“AI is advancing at an unprecedented pace that exceeds our expectations, and it is crucial to establish global norms and governance to harness such technological innovations to enhance the welfare of humanity.

“We hope that the AI Seoul Summit will serve as an opportunity to strengthen global cooperation on not only AI safety but also AI innovation and inclusion, and promote sustainable AI development.”

Innovation is a particular focus for the UK’s overall approach to AI, with projects such as the Manchester Prize marking a decade-long commitment of £1 million every year by the government to tap into the technology and advance solutions to pressing challenges such as climate change and energy efficiency.

The UK continues to drive forward international collaboration on AI safety through the AI Safety Institute – the world’s first state-backed body dedicated to AI safety. The Institute has already published a detailed approach to model safety evaluations, rapidly expanded its researcher ranks, and earlier this month put pen to paper on an historic agreement with the United States on AI safety.

The AI Seoul Summit will be accompanied by the release of the first iteration of the International Scientific Report on Advanced AI Safety – a key commitment from the Bletchley Park Summit which is being independently led by Turing Prize winner Yoshua Bengio and brings together the best existing scientific research on AI safety from across the globe. The international expert review panel for the report includes representatives from the UK, the Republic of Korea, and other leading AI nations.

The UK will continue to work closely with international governments, AI companies and civil society, to ensure people across the globe can safely realise the transformative benefits of AI to unlock new opportunities, transform productivity and public services, and power economic growth.

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