Prime Minister's speech at the AI Safety Summit: 2 November 2023

Prime Minister's speech at the AI Safety Summit at Bletchley Park on 2 November 2023

The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s statement from the AI Safety Summit at Bletchley Park

It was here at Bletchley Park where codebreakers including the British genius Alan Turing cracked the Enigma cipher… 

…and where we used the world’s first electronic computer.

Breakthroughs which changed the possibilities for humanity.

So there could be nowhere more fitting for the world to come together…

…to seize the opportunities of the greatest breakthrough of our own time…. 

…while giving people the peace of mind that we will keep them safe. 

I truly believe there is nothing in our foreseeable future that will be more transformative for our economies, our societies and all our lives…

….than the development of technologies like Artificial Intelligence.

But as with every wave of new technology, it also brings new fears and new dangers. 

So no matter how difficult it may be…

….it is the right and responsible long-term decision for leaders to address them.

That is why I called this Summit….

…and I want to pay tribute to everyone who has joined us, and the spirit in which they have done so. 

For the first time ever, we have brought together CEOs of world-leading AI companies….

… with countries most advanced in using it….

…and representatives from across academia and civil society. 

And while this was only the beginning of the conversation,

I believe the achievements of this summit will tip the balance in favour of humanity. 

Because they show we have both the political will and the capability to control this technology and secure its benefits for the long-term.

And we’ve achieved this in four specific ways. 

Until this week, the world did not even have a shared understanding of the risks. 

So our first step was to have open and inclusive conversation to seek that shared understanding.

We analysed the latest available evidence on everything from social harms like bias and misinformation…

…to the risks of misuse by bad actors…

…through to the most extreme risks of even losing control of AI completely.

And yesterday, we agreed and published the first ever international statement about the nature of all those risks.

It was signed by every single nation represented at this summit covering all continents across the globe… 

…and including the US and China.

Some said, we shouldn’t even invite China…

….others that we could never get an agreement with them. 

Both were wrong.

A serious strategy for AI safety has to begin with engaging all the world’s leading AI powers. 

And all of them have signed the Bletchley Park Communique. 

Second, we must ensure that our shared understanding keeps pace with the rapid deployment and development of AI. 

That’s why, last week I proposed a truly global expert panel to publish a State of AI Science report.

Today, at this summit, the whole international community has agreed. 

This idea is inspired by the way the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was set up to reach international science consensus. 

With the support of the UN Secretary General…

…every country has committed to nominate experts.

And I’m delighted to announce that Turing Prize Winner and ‘godfather of AI’ Yoshua Bengio…

…has agreed to chair the production of the inaugural report.  

Third, until now the only people testing the safety of new AI models…

…have been the very companies developing it. 

That must change.

So building on the G7 Hiroshima process and the Global Partnership on AI…

…like-minded governments and AI companies have today reached a landmark agreement.

We will work together on testing the safety of new AI models before they are released. 

This partnership is based around a series of principles which set out the responsibilities we share.

And it’s made possible by the decision that I have taken – along with Vice President Kamala Harris…

….for the British and American governments to establish world-leading AI Safety Institutes…

…with the public sector capability to test the most advanced frontier models. 

In that spirit I very much welcome the agreement of the companies here today to deepen the privileged access that the UK has to their models.

Drawing on the expertise of some of the most respected and knowledgeable AI experts in the world…

…our Safety Institute will work to build our evaluations process in time to assess the next generation of models before they are deployed next year. 

Finally, fulfilling the vision we have set to keep AI safe is not the work of a single summit. 

The UK is proud to have brought the world together and hosted the first summit.

But it requires an ongoing international process…

…to stay ahead of the curve on the science…

…and see through all the collaboration we have begun today.

So we have agreed that Bletchley Park should be the first of a series of international safety summits…

…with both Korea and France agreeing to host further summits next year. 

The late Sir Stephen Hawking once said that – 

“AI is likely to be the best or worst thing to happen to humanity.”

If we can sustain the collaboration that we have fostered over these last two days…

…I profoundly believe that we can make it the best. 

Because safely harnessing this technology could eclipse anything we have ever known.

And if in time history proves that today we began to seize that prize…

…then we will have a written a new chapter worthy of its place in the story of Bletchley Park…

…and more importantly, bequeathed an extraordinary legacy of hope and opportunity for our children and the generations to come.

Prime Minister's Office, 10 Downing Street
The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP