Despite recent controversies surrounding espionage allegations, China is set to participate in the upcoming UK AI Safety Summit at Bletchley Park, as confirmed by officials from both nations.
This is the world’s first truly global summit focused specifically on safety, but China’s participation was cast into doubt in September when analysts speculated it could pose a security threat.
Geopolitical tensions between the US and China are also rising, with the US penciling in additional limitations on technology exports this week.
There was a significant backlash against Sunak for inviting China, especially after last month’s incident involving the arrest of a parliamentary researcher under suspicions of spying for Beijing.
China is undoubtedly the world’s second most powerful “AI superpower” after the US, with Baidu recently claiming its model rivals GPT-4. As such, their attendance should be highly beneficial, if not essential.
James Cleverly, the UK foreign secretary, emphasized the importance of not excluding significant AI players when discussing global governance, hinting at China’s pivotal role in the AI industry.
He said the government couldn’t “keep the UK public safe from the risks of AI if we exclude one of the leading nations in AI tech.”
Scheduled for November 1 and 2 at the historic Bletchley Park, where AI pioneer Alan Turing once worked, China is now expected to attend both days of the summit.
China has yet to announce its representatives for the summit, but while not commenting directly on participation, the government had previously stated it supports international collaboration on AI governance.
In preparation for the event, UK tech and diplomatic figures, including tech investor Matt Clifford and former diplomat Jonathan Black, visited Beijing to outline shared summit goals.
The summit will predominantly discuss “frontier AI,” encompassing advanced AI models like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard.
The summit aims to address AI’s national security implications, including cyber threats and bioweapon design potentials, as well as broader topics like election interference, misinformation, and global inequality risks.