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Britain will host AI summit at World War 2 code-breaking centre

Britain will host AI summit at World War 2 code-breaking centre
A piece of paper sits on the Colossus machine at Bletchley Park in Milton Keynes, Britain on Sept 15, 2016.
PHOTO: Reuters

LONDON - Britain will host a global summit on artificial intelligence at the old home of Britain's World War Two codebreakers in November as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pitches Britain as global leader in guarding the safety of the fast-developing technology.

The summit will take place on Nov 1 and 2 at Bletchley Park, the site in Milton Keynes where mathematician Alan Turing cracked Nazi Germany's Enigma code, the government said on Thursday (Aug 24).

Executives from tech companies, government officials and academics will meet to consider the risks of AI and discuss how they can be mitigated.

The summit will likely touch on issues such how to prevent AI being used to spread of misinformation during elections and the use of the technology in warfare, according to a government official, who asked not to be named.

"The UK has long been home to the transformative technologies of the future, so there is no better place to host the first ever global AI safety summit than at Bletchley Park," Sunak said.

"To fully embrace the extraordinary opportunities of artificial intelligence, we must grip and tackle the risks to ensure it develops safely in the years ahead."

Sunak announced in June that Britain would be organising a summit after a meeting in Washington with President Joe Biden, saying he wanted Britain to be the intellectual and geographical home of AI regulation.

Governments around the world are wrestling with how to control the potential negative consequences of AI without stifling innovation.

Tech entrepreneur and expert Matt Clifford and Jonathan Black, a former senior diplomat and deputy national security adviser, have been appointed to lead preparations for the summit.

Britain has opted to split regulatory responsibility for AI between those bodies that oversee competition, human rights and health and safety, rather than create a new body dedicated to the technology.

Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) economies, comprising Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain, the United States and the European Union, in May called for adoption of standards to create trustworthy AI and to set up a ministerial forum dubbed the Hiroshima AI process.

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