Govt paints grim picture of future as AI Summit looms

ai-robot-2Generative AI – the technology that marketers are embracing in their droves – could increase the risk of cyber-attacks, trigger more fraud and scams and erode trust in online content within two years, a new Government study has warned.

The report, Safety & Security Risks of Generative Artificial Intelligence to 2025, has been published as a “discussion paper” in the run up to next week’s AI Safety Summit, being hosted by the UK at Bletchley Park.

While ministers have been quick to point out that it does not represent official policy, his paper outlines the capabilities, risks, and cross-cutting challenges presented by the technology, pointing particularly to dangers around misuse, social harms, and loss of control.

The report warns that by 2025 generative AI could be “used to assemble knowledge on physical attacks by non-state violent actors, including for chemical, biological and radiological weapons” and says that, while firms are working to block this, “the effectiveness of these safeguards vary”.

There are obstacles to getting hold of the knowledge, raw materials, and equipment for attacks, but those barriers are falling – potentially accelerated by AI, according to the report. By 2025, it is likely AI will also help create “faster-paced, more effective and larger scale” cyber-attacks, it warns.

The report concludes: “Generative AI has the potential to bring substantial benefits if managed appropriately, accelerating productivity and innovation across many sectors. But there is a risk that inadequate understanding of the technology, resulting in disproportionate public anxiety could result in failure to adopt generative AI and put some benefits out of reach.”

Quite why the Government has concentrated on negatives rather than the positives of the technology when it insists the UK will take a “light-touch” approach to AI regulation is not known. However, it comes ahead of a speech by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in which he will set out how the Government aims to make AI safe, and establish the UK as a global leader in AI safety.

He is expected to say: “AI will bring new knowledge, new opportunities for economic growth, new advances in human capability, and the chance to solve problems we once thought beyond us. But it also brings new dangers and new fears.

““So, the responsible thing for me to do is to address those fears head on, giving you the peace of mind that we will keep you safe, while making sure you and your children have all the opportunities for a better future that AI can bring.

“Doing the right thing, not the easy thing, means being honest with people about the risks from these technologies.”

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