The launch of GPT-4 on the 14th of March this year was shocking as well as exciting. ChatGPT had been released the previous November, and became the fastest-growing app ever. But GPT-4’s capabilities were a level beyond, and it provoked remarkable comments from people who had previously said little about the future of AI. In May, Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak described superintelligence as an existential risk to humanity. A year ago, it would have been inconceivable for the leader of a major country to say such a thing.
The following month, in June, Sunak announced that a global summit on AI safety would be held in November at the historically resonant venue of Bletchley Park, the stately home where during World War Two, Alan Turing and others cracked the German Enigma code, and probably shortened the war by many months.
Despite the fact that AI is increasingly humanity’s most powerful technology, there is not yet an established forum for world leaders to discuss its longer term impacts, including accelerating automation, extended longevity, and the awesome prospect of superintelligence. The world needs its leaders to engage in a clear-eyed, honest, and well-informed discussion of these things.
The summit is scheduled for the 1st and 2nd of November, and Matt Clifford, the CEO of the high-profile VC firm Entrepreneur First, has taken a sabbatical to help prepare it.
To help us all understand what the summit might achieve, the guest in this episode is Ollie Buckley.
Ollie studied PPE at Oxford, and was later a policy fellow at Cambridge. After six years as a strategy consultant with Monitor, he spent a decade as a civil servant, developing digital technology policy in the Cabinet Office and elsewhere. Crucially, from 2018 to 2021 he was the founding Executive Director of the UK government's original AI governance advisory body, the Centre for Data Ethics & Innovation (CDEI), where he led some of the original policy development regarding the regulation of AI and data-driven technologies. Since then, he has been advising tech companies, civil society and international organisations on AI policy as a consultant.
An open event at Wilton Hall, Bletchley, the afternoon before the AI Safety Summit starts: https://www.meetup.com/london-futurists/events/296765860/
Music: Spike Protein, by Koi Discovery, available under CC0 1.0 Public Domain Declaration