Analysis-Second Global AI Safety Summit Faces Tough Questions, Low Turnout

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LONDON (Reuters) – Last year, a who’s who of world leaders, corporate executives and academics gathered in Britain’s Bletchley Park for the world’s first global AI safety summit, hoping to reach a consensus on how to regulate the technology. I gathered in what some warned humanity

Tesla mogul Elon Musk and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman have rubbed shoulders with some of their harshest critics, while China signed the “Bletchley Declaration” with the US and others, increasingly siding with the West. Despite the tension, he indicated his willingness to cooperate.

Six months later, the second AI Safety Summit, a largely virtual event co-hosted by Britain and South Korea, will raise questions about the limits of artificial intelligence as the furore over its potential.



“There are some radically different approaches … beyond what was agreed at Bletchley Park,” said Martha Bennett, senior analyst at research and advisory firm Forrester, referring to the landmark but necessarily broad agreement on AI safety. It will be difficult to grow.” .

Thorny questions about the use of copyrighted material, lack of data and environmental impact are also unlikely to attract such a star-studded crowd.

While organizers have trailed an event comparable to Bletchley, many of its key participants have turned down invitations to Seoul.

After the first summit concluded in November, British Prime Minister Rishi Singh promised that subsequent events would be held every six months so that governments could keep track of the rapidly developing technology.

Since then, attention has shifted from existential risk to the resources required to accelerate AI development, such as the vast amounts of data needed to train large language models, and powering the growing number of data centers. Supply electricity.

“The policy discourse around AI has expanded to include other important concerns, such as market concentration and environmental impact,” said Francine Bennett, interim director of the Ada Lovelace Institute, which focuses on data and AI.

Altman, CEO of OpenAI, has suggested that the future of AI depends on energy breakthroughs. In February, the Wall Street Journal reported that it was seeking to raise up to $7 trillion to boost production of computer chips, which are currently in short supply.

But experts warn that betting the future of AI on scientific breakthroughs and lucrative financial endeavors may not be the best move.

“Technology failure to live up to the hype is inevitable,” said Jack Stilgo, professor of technology policy at University College London.

People will find amazing and creative uses for this technology, but that doesn’t mean the future will look like Elon Musk or Sam Altman imagine it.

Shares in tech giant Meta plunged 13 percent last week after it announced it would double down on AI, although markets cheered payoffs from big investments by Google and Microsoft.

The May 21-22 South Korean summit was always billed as a “mini-summit” in anticipation of the next in-person gathering in Paris.

A virtual “leaders session” on the first day, followed by an in-person meeting of technology ministers on the second day, was clearly designed to build on the legacy of Bletchley Park.

But according to sources familiar with the matter, few leaders and ministers are scheduled to attend, even as the French government has postponed the next gathering until 2025.

An EU spokesman did not rule out the bloc’s presence, but confirmed that its chief tech regulators – Margaret Vestager, Thierry Breton and Vera Jourova – would not attend.

The US State Department confirmed it would send a representative to Seoul, but did not say who. The Canadian and Dutch governments said they would not participate.

Brazil’s government said it was still considering its invitation, citing a conflict with a G20 event the country is hosting this week.

The Swiss government said Ambassador Benedict Wechsler, head of digitization at the Foreign Ministry, will attend in person.

Nothing will last until the first gathering of its kind,” said Linda Griffin, public policy lead at Mozilla, the organization behind the Firefox web browser.

“It’s really hard to get international agreements, so it may take a few iterations of these events to find a rhythm.”

Griffin said there was no specific reason for Mozilla not attending the Seoul meeting, but that it was focused on the Paris event.

Similarly, early AI research unit Google DeepMind said it welcomed the summit, but declined to confirm its attendance.

Jeffrey Hinton, a former Google researcher and the “godfather” of AI, told Reuters he had declined an invitation to attend the event, citing an injury that made it difficult to fly. .

A UK Government spokesperson said: “The AI ​​Seoul Summit will build on the momentum of Bletchley Park to further progress AI on safety, innovation and inclusion, moving us all closer to a world where AI across the board is our Improving lives.”

(Reporting by Martin Coulter; Editing by Matt Skiffham, Kristen Donovan)

Copyright 2024 Thomson Reuters.

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