Tensions are mounting between China and the West over artificial intelligence regulations ahead of the global AI safety summit hosted by UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak this week. Several prominent Chinese AI experts have joined Western counterparts in signing a bold statement warning of the “existential risk” posed by advanced AI and calling for stringent international oversight.
According to a Nov. 1 Financial Times report, the statement, signed by leading figures like Andrew Yao of China and Yoshua Bengio of Canada, urges the creation of a regulatory body to mandate registration and auditing of advanced AI systems. It also advocates for “shutdown” procedures and requires developers to devote 30% of their budgets to safety. These proposals go further than regulations currently proposed by the US, EU, and UK.
China has a willingness to back harsh AI regulation even though they focus on AI for censorship
China’s willingness to back aggressive AI regulations contrasts with its domestic focus on using AI for censorship and social control. It indicates Beijing may stake out a strong stance on AI safety at the summit, competing with Washington’s priorities of banning AI discrimination and protecting privacy. The rivalry comes amid broader tensions over global tech leadership.
Yet the UK’s draft summit communique, seen by the Financial Times, does not propose specific regulations. It merely warns of AI’s catastrophic potential harm. Sunak wants the non-binding document signed by the US, India, South Korea, Japan, and others at the summit. Attendees include tech leaders like OpenAI’s Sam Altman and Twitter’s Elon Musk.
In a bid to cement the summit’s legacy, the UK will reportedly announce South Korea as the host of the next AI safety summit in 2024. Analysts see South Korea as a neutral choice amid the AI regulatory tensions between China and the West.
The competing visions for AI oversight at Bletchley Park highlight the difficult task of forging a global consensus on managing AI’s risks. With advanced AI on the horizon, the divide between East and West over AI safety regulations continues to grow.
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