AI risk building blocks will create legacy for generations

The world has been told that any attempt to create a one size fits all solution to the risks posed by artificial intelligence (AI) would be doomed to fail.

The warning was issue by the UK’s secretary of state for Science, Innovation and Technology, Michelle Donelan as she addressed a meeting of technology leaders in London.

It comes As the UK get set to welcomes experts from around the world for the first global summit on AI risks.

She said the number tell a story of the country’s success when it came to the development implementation of AI.

“With 1% of the world’s population, we have built the 3rd largest AI sector in the world,” Donelan explained. “We have rocketed ourselves to a 688% increase in AI companies basing themselves here in less than a decade.  UK AI scaleups are raising almost double that of France, Germany and the rest of Europe combined. And more money is invested into AI safety here than in any other country in the world.”

She added that by the end of the decade the UK’s AI sector will be worth half a trillion dollars.

“By 2035, it is predicted to be double that. A trillion-dollar AI sector here in the UK,” Donelan added. “For context, that is equal to the value of our entire tech sector today.”

However while there is potential for huge growth there are also risks.

“But we are only just scratching the surface,” Donelan continued. “We stand at a pivotal juncture in human history. What Alan Turing predicted many decades ago is now coming to fruition.

“Machines are on the cusp of matching humans on equal terms in a range of intellectual domains – from mathematics to visual arts through to fundamental science. As Turing foresaw, this progress has not come without opposition.

“Yet the potential for good is limitless if we forge a thoughtful path ahead.”

Donelan  quoted American computer scientist J.C.R. Licklider who envisioned a symbiotic partnership between humans and machines.

“Licklider predicted this could lead to the most ‘intellectually creative and exciting’ period in human history,” she said. “But to get there, we must be transparent with the public.  And we need to show beyond doubt that we are tackling these risks head-on.

“That is why, last week we became the first country in the entire world to communicate to its citizens a clear explanation of what the risks at the frontier of AI could be.

“This drew upon genuine world-leading expertise, including from many of you in this room, and which will lead the conversation not just at home but across the globe.

“Because science fiction is no longer fiction. Science fiction is now science reality.”

Donelan added but with these incredible advances, come alongside risks.

“We cannot ignore or dismiss the countless experts who tell us plain and simple that there are risks of humans losing control, that some model outputs could become completely unpredictable and that the societal impacts of AI advances could seriously disrupt safety and security here at home,” she explained. “The Summit will be a moment where we move this discussion forward from the speculative and philosophical. To the scientific and empirical.

“AI is not some phenomenon that is happening to us, it is a force we have the power to shape and direct. I believe we have a responsibility to act now.”

Donelan  said the UK had announced the creation of a new AI Safety Institute.

“This Institute will lead a global effort in understanding the risks we’ve publicly talked about and stopping them before they actually pose risk,” she said. “It will also carry out research into new safety methods so we can get ahead of the curve and ensure developers are using the right tools at the right time to manage risks.

“The work and findings of this institute will shape policy not just domestically but internationally too – helping developers and partner governments innovate safely and collaboratively.

“This is not just the right approach I would argue it is the only approach.  AI knows no geographical boundaries. The risks cut across borders, cultures and societies across the globe.”

Donelan continued: “As AI evolves over time, our collective response must evolve too.  We have to distinguish between the high risk work at the frontier of AI, and the vast majority of companies whose development is much lower risk.

“A one-size-fits-all system that ignores these important nuances will be destined to fail and will stop us reaping the enormous benefit for our society that so many of you here tonight represent.

“Making that 0.1% at the frontier safer will benefit both them and the remaining 99.9% of the sector – allowing us to improve consumer confidence and adoption across society.

“Because we should be unapologetically pro-innovation, pro-business, and pro-safety. We must not pull up the drawbridge to innovation.

“Our approach to AI will be the building blocks for creating a legacy for generations to come.”

Donelan  concluded: “The motor car created road accidents, but in turn we created seatbelts and established rules of the road.  AI is no different.

“Our Summit this week affords us an unmissable opportunity to forge a path ahead where we can form those rules of the road together as an international community.

“This is a chance to unify behind the goal of giving people in every corner of the globe confidence that AI will work for humanity and not against it.”