Rishi Sunak's top tech adviser warns world 'has two years to tame AI'
‘We’ve only got two years to tame AI’: Rishi Sunak’s top tech adviser’s worrying warning about the dangers of artificial intelligence
- Matt Clifford has warmed that a deadly bio weapon could be developed with AI
- He said it is not ‘inevitable’ that computers would become cleverer that humans
World leaders may have just two years left to tame artificial intelligence before computers become out of control, the Prime Minister’s AI taskforce adviser has warned.
Matt Clifford said that without urgent international regulation, a deadly bio weapon could be developed that would kill ‘many humans’.
The tech entrepreneur said the rising capability of AI is ‘striking’, but insisted it was not ‘inevitable’ that computers would become cleverer than humans.
His comments come ahead of Rishi Sunak’s visit to Washington DC where he is expected to tell Joe Biden of his ambition for Britain to lead the world in tackling the threats posed by AI. The Prime Minister is looking to launch a global AI watchdog in London, and hopes to host an international summit to devise rules on AI regulation.
It follows fears that humanity could lose control of super-intelligent systems, or that AI could launch novel cyberattacks or threaten democracy by propagating mass disinformation.
The Prime Minister’s AI taskforce adviser has warned that without urgent international regulation, a deadly bio weapon could be developed that would kill ‘many humans’
Mr Clifford, chairman of the Advanced Research and Innovation Agency (ARIA), told TalkTV that the ‘near term risks are actually pretty scary’. He said: ‘You can use AI today to create new recipes for bio weapons or to launch large scale cyber attacks… these are bad things.’
He added that the ‘existential risk’ is ‘what happens once we effectively create a new species – an intelligence that is greater than humans’.
A group of 350 experts last week signed a statement warning that AI needed to be treated as a threat on a par with nuclear weapons or a pandemic.
Asked whether it was possible to stop AI from becoming cleverer than humans, Mr Clifford said: ‘It’s certainly not inevitable. However, the reason people are starting to get worried, even the people making these systems… is that the rate of progress we’ve seen over the last two or three years has been pretty striking.
‘I think what the signers of the letter are saying is we’re on an exponential… these systems are getting more and more capable at an ever increasing rate.
‘And if we don’t start to think now about how to regulate, how to think about safety, then in two years’ time, we’ll be finding that we have systems that are very powerful indeed.’
A group of 350 experts last week signed a statement warning that AI needed to be treated as a threat on a par with nuclear weapons or a pandemic
It came as Gita Gopinath, second-in-command at the International Monetary Fund, warned of the potential of ‘substantial disruptions in labour markets’.
She told the Financial Times that the risks from AI were ‘very large’ – though could boost productivity and economic output.
‘There is tremendous uncertainty, but that… doesn’t mean we have the luxury of time to wait and think of the policies we will put in place in the future,’ she said. ‘We need governments, we need institutions and we need policymakers to move quickly on all fronts, in terms of regulation, but also in terms of preparing for probably substantial disruptions in labour markets.’
It follows warnings about the potential impact on society if AI leads people to lose their jobs.
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