THE UK and 27 other countries will join forces to work and share research together over the potentially “catastrophic” risk from AI.
The so-called Bletchley Declaration was announced yesterday on the first day of an artificial intelligence safety summit hosted by the British government at Bletchley Park.
Ministers were celebrating the global agreement as a “landmark achievement” and appearances from both Chinese and US government delegates — two tech powerhouses — were taken as a sign of the severity of the challenge.
Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan said of the historic framework on the tech: “We must also recognise that governments do not have all the answers. Quite simply, none of us can do this alone.”
Critics highlighted the US had used the summit to launch its own American AI Safety Institute shortly after the President Biden administration said that US AI companies — such as ChatGPT owner OpenAI — would have to share their safety test results on new technologies.
US Vice President Kamala Harris said there were already human costs if biases were being written into AI codes as well as “AI-enabled cyber attacks at a scale beyond anything we have seen before”.
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The agreement has fallen short of implementing a global referee, or introducing laws to slow down the development of artificial intelligence despite fears tech is advancing so quickly it could soon overtake human understanding.
Ms Donelan said it was important to fully understand “the problem before we apply solutions”.
Matt Clifford, chair of the AI Taskforce’s advisory board, said that it would take a year to do “more empirical work done in partnership across countries and companies” before a global regulator could be considered.
Another gathering to debate AI has been scheduled in six months time in South Korea, followed by an event in France next year.
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The event focused on so-called Frontier AI — the most cutting-edge and powerful part of the tech — and worries it could become more intelligent than humans.
Ms Donelan said AI could “not be left to chance or neglect or to private actors alone”.
Sources said that the private discussions were largely focused on fears of open sharing of the tech.
There are concerns if AI is on so-called “OpenSource” platforms, intelligence that could be used to develop bioweapons and could then fall into ordinary citizens’ hands with dangerous consequences.
Many Brits are concerned about their jobs being wiped out by the rise of AI — but Ms Donelan said that there needed to be a “change in the conversation”.
She stressed that there was still a potential for it to “reduce the admin for doctors, police forces and teachers”.
Algorithms steal music
EXECUTIVES from the arts also met at the British Library yesterday to discuss how AI was stealing human skills such as music.
Fake songs of popular acts have fanned fears for the industry. Moiya McTier, head of Human Artistry that works with 170 firms including Universal Music, told The Sun: “AI is already stealing human art and profiting off it.”
Canadian star Grimes has said she will split royalties from any successful AI-generated song using her voice. But she will take down toxic lyrics.
Her ex-boyfriend, Twitter/X boss Elon Musk, was at the AI safety summit.
Trouble at ASOS
ASOS says its sales could slump even further next year.
The fashion site’s sales have dropped 11 per cent in the past year to £3.5billion, while losses have ballooned from £30million to £300million.
Asos warned investors sales could fall 15 per cent in the year ahead. It is shutting a warehouse in Lichfield, which opened two years ago.
Boss Jose Antonio Ramos Calamonte said Asos would be a “smaller but more resilient business”. He refused to comment on recent speculation that it might sell Topshop, which it bought in 2021.
The Next big thing
NEXT has put more distance between itself and its rivals by issuing a fourth boost to profit forecasts this year.
After sales dropped 4 per cent during the warm autumn weather, recent wet weather sparked demand for its winter outfits, with sales up £23million more than expected.
The retailer, which now owns Fat Face, hopes to make profits of £885million this year.
A shot in the arm
GLAXOSMITHKLINE says its new respiratory vaccine could be its next blockbuster drug.
It said that its Arexvy vaccine for RSV — a virus which affects around 64 million people globally — had grown sales by a third and expects to make £1billion from it.
GSK had first-mover advantage, beating rival Pfizer to market after 15 years of research into the drug.
HOUSE prices rose last month despite warnings of a property downturn.
The 0.9 per cent month-on-month rise in October means prices are now 3.3 per cent lower than a year ago, compared to the annual decline of 5.3 per cent in September.
Economists had predicted an overall 10 per cent slump in property prices from their peak as higher mortgage costs take their toll on demand.
Verona Frankish, of YOPA, said last month’s decision to freeze interest rates had given the market confidence.
HALFORDS, the bike and motoring chain, is selling a 5 per cent stake in its car software business to US tyre giant Bridgestone to roll out the technology across the USA. Halford shares rose 2 per cent yesterday to 204.75.
WeWork in fail
WEWORK, the troubled flexible office firm, is set to file for US bankruptcy protection as soon as next week.
The company’s shares tanked by 50 per cent yesterday amid reports it was planning an insolvency process.
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WeWork has been caught out by higher interest rates which have made its £10billion of long term office leases much more expensive.
It has already said that it would miss some bond repayments. The business has lost 98 per cent of its value already this year.
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