In advance of the UK’s International Artificial Intelligence Safety Summit, scheduled to be held at the historic Bletchley Park from November 1st to 2nd, 2023, tech entrepreneur, futurist, and author of the techno-thriller novel “Artificial Wisdom,” Thomas R. Weaver, issues a cautionary note. While recognising AI’s potential as humanity’s greatest ally in addressing monumental challenges such as climate change, he warns that without coordinated efforts to address vulnerabilities and establish an ethical framework, AI could become our greatest risk.
Why is the Summit Taking Place Now? Weaver asserts that the timing of the summit is crucial, given the rapid evolution of Artificial Intelligence. He believes that AI’s growth is no longer linear but exponential. He states, “The evolution of Artificial Intelligence is no longer on a linear growth curve, but an exponential one. We’ve enough evidence now to take AI seriously, and enough time to make changes to the way it is governed.”
Why Bletchley Park? As a local resident and a graduate in Computer Science from the University of Southampton, Weaver appreciates the significance of Bletchley Park. He views it as a symbol of the profound impact that computational technology and collective intelligence can have on shaping human events. For him, it is the ideal backdrop for a summit focusing on AI safety—a global challenge that demands innovation and ethical considerations. Weaver acknowledges that Bletchley Park serves as a poignant reminder that technology can be a game-changer for humanity if handled correctly, but the consequences of mishandling are unimaginable.
Weaver’s Predictions for the UK Summit Weaver anticipates that discussions at the summit will revolve around emerging high-stakes applications of AI, such as autonomous weaponry, superintelligence, and AI in healthcare. Given the historic significance of the venue and the global attention on AI safety, the summit may serve as a launchpad for new international collaborations and treaties aimed at establishing ethical and safety standards. He believes that any announcements regarding international agreements or collaborations will be headline news. Controversial topics like AI’s military applications or the risks of unregulated AI development are likely to receive widespread media coverage, both mainstream and on social platforms.
Five key objectives have been confirmed for the Summit, to be deliberated upon by a panel of global AI experts, academics, politicians, and scientists. One of these objectives focuses on achieving a shared understanding of the risks posed by cutting-edge AI and the necessity for proactive measures.
Weaver underscores the significance of this objective in the current context. He says, “While it’s exhilarating to stand on the cusp of a new frontier in AI, that very edge is a precipice we risk tumbling over if we don’t approach it with caution. As someone who has delved deep into the ethical murk of future technologies through both fiction and entrepreneurship, I can’t stress enough how vital it is that we develop a collective understanding of the risks involved—especially when it comes to employing AI in tackling monumental challenges like climate change. It’s not merely about drafting safety protocols; it’s about questioning the very mandate we give to these technologies.”
As the International Artificial Intelligence Safety Summit unfolds, it promises to provide insights, debates, and potentially groundbreaking initiatives in the field of AI safety, ushering in a new era of ethical considerations and global cooperation.