The Guardian view on AI regulation: the threat is too grave for Sunak’s light-touch approach | Editorial

  • November 1, 2023
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The PM’s fear of stifling innovation makes him too hesitant to deal with problems that Washington and Brussels are already addressing

The challenge of regulating artificial intelligence is sometimes compared to the management of nuclear energy: there are valuable civil applications alongside terrifying military ones, and a credible risk of existential calamity if it all goes wrong. But nuclear weapons are expensive and hard to acquire. By contrast, AI can distribute awesome power at relatively low cost. This adds unprecedented complexity to the task facing attenders at an AI safety summit that Rishi Sunak is hosting this week at Bletchley Park.

The prime minister wants to position the UK as a global leader in the field. It is a creditable diplomatic endeavour, partly vindicated by the “Bletchley declaration” in which 28 countries agree to a sustained global dialogue on managing emerging AI risks. Significantly, both the US and China have signed.

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