The UK hosts the first global AI Safety Summit

Countries from across the globe gathered for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s AI Safety Summit in Buckinghamshire, UK, to discuss international risks and regulations.

Image of Bletchley Park

This article is taken from the Winter 2023/24 issue of

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The summit featured government ministers, industry and academics to discuss the risks of frontier AI systems and how they might be mitigated through internationally coordinated action.Hosted at Bletchley Park, a former top secret home of the WW2 codebreakers, the day opened with UK Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, Michelle Donelan positioning the UK as a leader in the field.Donelan shared how frontier AI models hold enormous potential to power economic growth and drive scientific progress in a number of areas, from health and education to climate change.Speeches were given from various nations with a crucial role in the development and regulation of AI, including China, India, the UAE and EU with officials highlighting the safety risks if not developed responsibly. These warnings were later echoed by King Charles in a televised speech.The focus of the 2-day summit was centred around five key objectives. To understand the risks posed by frontier AI; set a forward process for international collaboration and priorities for the next five years; identify appropriate safety measures for organisations to take; discuss potential areas for research; and to showcase how the safe development of AI can benefit the global community.

Diversity, equity and democracy

US Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo, reminded peers and delegates of the need for diverse leadership in the regulation of AI.“Women represented at one point three quarters of the codebreakers at Bletchley Park and were a vital and under-appreciated asset in advancing science and harnessing its benefits. I challenge all of us as we move forward with AI to have as many women and diverse people in the deployment and development of AI.”While VP of the European Commission, Vera Jourova, who leads the AI safety agenda in Europe discussed the launch of the AI Act earlier this year – “an innovation-friendly approach to regulation”. She warned of societal harms from malicious use of AI, in particular disinformation, bias and discrimination as well as threats to democracy and political elections.
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Bletchley Declaration

A Bletchley Declaration on AI was agreed on Wednesday 1 November by over 25 countries. The declaration states a joint responsibility for AI safety and a commitment to collaborative research and building national and international frameworks for AI governance. Countries that took part in the declaration included Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Ireland, Japan, Spain, Turkey, Rwanda, Kenya, Nigeria, Germany and Italy.On Thursday 2 November, PM Rishi Sunak met with the international community including industry, reinforcing the message that “AI does not respect borders” which is why the UK and others are taking action.Other announcements included a tripling of investment into British supercomputing to £300 million, up from £100 million, to boost the UK’s AI capabilities.A virtual follow up to the AI Safety Summit will take place in South Korea in six months, with France hosting the next in-person AI summit later in 2024.

Did you know?

The UK is home to twice as many AI companies as any other European country.


The total number of people working in the AI sector that the UK currently employs.

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