An international conference of political leaders and tech executives agreed to regulate AI.
What’s new: 28 countries including China and the United States as well as the European Union signed a declaration aimed at mitigating AI risks.
How it works: The declaration kicked off the United Kingdom’s first AI Safety Summit at Bletchley Park, a country house outside London, where Alan Turing and others cracked Germany’s Enigma code during World War II.
- The signatories agreed to jointly study safety concerns including disinformation, cybersecurity, and biohazards. They committed to addressing risks within their borders but didn’t announce specific programs.
- 10 countries including France, Germany, Japan, the U.S., and the UK will nominate experts to lead an international AI panel akin to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This panel will prepare a report on the “state of AI science.”
- Amazon, Google, Meta, Microsoft, OpenAI, and other companies agreed to allow governments to test AI products before releasing them to the public.
- AI safety institutes established by individual countries will administer the tests. The UK and U.S. announced such institutes, which pledged to collaborate with each other and their counterparts in other countries.
More to come: The AI Safety Summit is set to be the first in a series. South Korea will host a follow-up in six months. France will host a third summit six months later.
Yes, but: Critics found the conference wanting. Some researchers criticized it for failing to endorse concrete limits on AI. Others blamed the speakers for promoting fear, particularly UK prime minister Rishi Sunak, who compared the AI risks to a global pandemic or nuclear war.
Why it matters: AI is developing rapidly, and regulatory frameworks are already emerging in China, Europe, and the U.S. The summit is an effort to lay groundwork for a coherent international framework.
We’re thinking: We applaud approaches that engage leaders in government, industry, and research. But we remain concerned that exaggerated fear of risks may lead to regulations that stifle innovation, especially by limiting open source development. UK Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden spoke about the value of open source and said there should be a very high bar to restrict open source in any way. We heartily agree!