Governments Vow To Collaborate On AI Regulation But Overall Alignment Unclear

Governments Vow To Collaborate On AI Regulation But Overall Alignment Unclear

Governments from 29 countries have vowed to collaborate on AI regulations during a summit at Bletchley Park in England, home of the effort to crack the Nazi Enigma machine during the Second World War.

Lead image: Ed Husic, minister for industry and science.

The US, Britain, China, India, the EU and a number of Asian and Gulf states descended on England for the two-day summit to try and align their approach to regulation. As it stands, the US and the UK favour company self-regulation, whereas the EU is focused more on protecting citizens with strict top down rules and protections. China has been looking to preserve its ability to use AI as a political tool.

Ed Husic, minister for industry and science, attended the event but was largely on the sidelines.

“The UK AI Summit is important and timely. It brings leaders from around the world, and across government, academia and industry, to explore solutions to better ensure the safe and responsible use of AI,” the minister said.

“In Australia, we recognise that AI and automation can provide a massive opportunity to boost productivity, but this will only be possible if the right guardrails are in place to build public trust.”

The 29 attending countries signed up for the Bletchley Declaration and saw them pledge to collaborate on the science, look for a common understanding of the challenges and keep the summit process going.

The signatories agreed on the need to “foster public trust and confidence in AI systems”. This meant addressing issues such as “the protection of human rights, transparency and explainability, fairness, accountability, regulation, safety, appropriate human oversight, ethics, bias mitigation, privacy and data protection”.

“We are especially concerned by such risks in domains such as cybersecurity and biotechnology, as well as where frontier AI systems may amplify risks such as disinformation,” they added.

“Countries should consider the importance of a pro-innovation and proportionate governance and regulatory approach that maximises the benefits and takes into account the risks associated with AI,” the statement said.

However, Husic said that the EU’s approach had been gaining traction, despite the gaps in regulatory models – particularly China’s.

“This is a moment where people usually approach these things thinking that it’ll be hard to get different countries working together on something,” he said.

“You’re seeing here a movement to actually find ways to cooperate on incredibly complex technology. It’s a pretty significant move, and I think it gives us a greater basis to see stuff happen”.

South Korea will host an online AI summit in six months and France will stage a second in-person AI Safety Summit next year.

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