Iconic Bletchley Park to host UK AI Safety Summit in early November

  • UK to host world first summit on artificial intelligence safety in November
  • Talks will explore and build consensus on rapid, international action to advance safety at the frontier of AI technology
  • Bletchley Park, one of the birthplaces of computer science, to host the summit

INTERNATIONAL governments, leading AI companies and experts in research will unite for crucial talks in November on the safe development and use of frontier AI technology, as the UK Government announces Bletchley Park as the location for the UK summit.  

The major global event will take place on the 1st and 2nd November to consider the risks of AI, especially at the frontier of development, and discuss how they can be mitigated through internationally coordinated action. Frontier AI models hold enormous potential to power economic growth, drive scientific progress and wider public benefits, while also posing potential safety risks if not developed responsibly.

To be hosted at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire, a significant location in the history of computer science development and once the home of British Enigma codebreaking – it will see coordinated action to agree a set of rapid, targeted measures for furthering safety in global AI use. 

Preparations for the summit are already in full flow, with Matt Clifford and Jonathan Black recently appointed as the Prime Minister’s Representatives. Together they’ll spearhead talks and negotiations, as they rally leading AI nations and experts over the next three months to ensure the summit provides a platform for countries to work together on further developing a shared approach to agree the safety measures needed to mitigate the risks of AI. 

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:

“The UK has long been home to the transformative technologies of the future, so there is no better place to host the first ever global AI safety summit than at Bletchley Park this November.

“To fully embrace the extraordinary opportunities of artificial intelligence, we must grip and tackle the risks to ensure it develops safely in the years ahead.

“With the combined strength of our international partners, thriving AI industry and expert academic community, we can secure the rapid international action we need for the safe and responsible development of AI around the world.”

 Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan said:  

“International collaboration is the cornerstone of our approach to AI regulation, and we want the summit to result in leading nations and experts agreeing on a shared approach to its safe use.  

“The UK is consistently recognised as a world leader in AI and we are well placed to lead these discussions. The location of Bletchley Park as the backdrop will reaffirm our historic leadership in overseeing the development of new technologies.  

“AI is already improving lives from new innovations in healthcare to supporting efforts to tackle climate change, and November’s summit will make sure we can all realise the technology’s huge benefits safely and securely for decades to come”. 

The summit will also build on ongoing work at international forums including the OECD, Global Partnership on AI, Council of Europe, and the UN and standards-development organisations, as well as the recently agreed G7 Hiroshima AI Process. 

The UK boasts strong credentials as a world leader in AI. The technology employs over 50,000 people, directly supports one of the Prime Minister’s five priorities by contributing £3.7 billion to the economy, and is the birthplace of leading AI companies such as Google DeepMind. It has also invested more on AI safety research than any other nation, backing the creation of the Foundation Model Taskforce with an initial £100 million.   

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said: 

“No country will be untouched by AI, and no country alone will solve the challenges posed by this technology. In our interconnected world, we must have an international approach.  

“The origins of modern AI can be traced back to Bletchley Park. Now, it will also be home to the global effort to shape the responsible use of AI.”  

Bletchley Park’s role in hosting the summit reflects the UK’s proud tradition of being at the frontier of new technology advancements. Since Alan Turing’s celebrated work some eight decades ago, computing and computer science have become fundamental pillars of life both in the UK and across the globe.  

Iain Standen, CEO of the Bletchley Park Trust, said: 

“Bletchley Park Trust is immensely privileged to have been chosen as the venue for the first major international summit on AI safety this November, and we look forward to welcoming the world to our historic site.  

“It is fitting that the very spot where leading minds harnessed emerging technologies to influence the successful outcome of World War Two will, once again, be the crucible for international co-ordinated action.  

“We are incredibly excited to be providing the stage for discussions on global safety standards, which will help everyone manage and monitor the risks of artificial intelligence”. 

The roots of AI can be traced back to the leading minds who worked at Bletchley during the Second World War, with codebreakers Jack Good and Donald Michie among those who went on to write extensive works on the technology. In November, it will once again take centre stage as the international community comes together to agree on important guardrails which ensure the opportunities of AI can be realised, and its risks safely managed. 

The announcement follows the UK Government allocating £13 million to revolutionise healthcare research through AI, unveiled last week. The funding supports a raft of new projects including transformations to brain tumour surgeries, new approaches to treating chronic nerve pain, and a system to predict a patient’s risk of developing future health problems based on existing conditions. 

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