Deputy UK PM Confirms China’s Participation in Upcoming British AI Summit

UNITED KINGDOM: China has agreed to attend a global conference on artificial intelligence hosted by Britain next week. The deputy prime minister, Oliver Dowden, confirmed the agreement but said he would wait for all attendees to attend.

The conference, scheduled for November 1-2, will involve political figures, experts, and representatives from AI firms to discuss potential risks and establish a global agreement on AI’s safe development.

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The UK government has criticized artificial intelligence as a “bracing test” for the multilateral system, as it seeks to unite nations, including China, in controlling the technology’s societal-scale hazards.

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden and Foreign Secretary James Cleverly defended Britain’s invitation to China to an AI regulatory meeting, which was initially characterized as mainly “like-minded countries.” Dowden emphasized that meaningful multilateralism cannot be achieved without engaging with China, despite the precise nature of China’s participation in the meeting.

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In a UN speech, Dowden emphasized the importance of balancing AI’s potential and risks, stating that the AI revolution will test the multilateral system. He highlighted the need to prioritize reducing the threat of AI-related extinction, alongside other societal risks like pandemics and nuclear war, to ensure a more sustainable future.

Dowden has expressed his clear understanding of the national security implications of China’s participation in the summit, stating that while there may be differences between the UK and nations with “less liberal democratic models,” communication should not be disqualified.

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Since it was recently revealed that a parliamentary researcher was detained in March on suspicion of spying for Beijing, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has come under fire from some members of his own Conservative party over his administration’s approach of cooperation with China.

The UK is actively addressing the global issue of China’s influence on internet safety, a move that has both advantages and drawbacks. Dowden emphasized the need for governments to avoid similar mistakes in regulating social media platforms, stating that AI is not a viable option for post-event regulation.

Several attendees at Climate Week criticised Sunak for easing the UK’s climate change ambitions, including delaying the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by five years. Dowden, however, dismissed their criticisms.

Also Read: PM Rishi Sunak Raises Alarms over Chinese Interference in Parliamentary Democracy at G20 Summit


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