Britain's King Charles III demands 'urgency' and 'unity' to address AI risk and tap into 'untold benefits'

The United Kingdom has hosted a summit on artificial intelligence at Bletchley Park, the birthplace of computing machines and the origin of AI tech at its most fundamental level.

Britain's King Charles III demands 'urgency' and 'unity' to address AI risk and tap into 'untold benefits'

King Charles III of England has urged the world’s leading nations to tackle artificial intelligence (AI) risks with "urgency, unity and collective strength" to ensure one of the "greatest technological leaps in human endeavor" becomes "a force for good in this world." 

"AI holds the potential to completely transform life as we know it: to help us better treat and perhaps even cure conditions like cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s; to hasten our journey toward net-zero; and perhaps to realize a new era of potentially limitless clean green energy," the king said. "Even just to make our everyday lives a bit easier."

"However, if we are to realize the untold benefits of AI then we must work together on combating its significant risks too," he added. 

Charles warned that "transitions like the one AI is heralding always present profound challenges, especially in preparing for unintended consequences." He compared the development of AI to the discovery of fire and electricity, and the splitting of the atom.

The king provided his address in pre-taped remarks for the AI conference at Bletchley Park, where 28 nations – including the U.S., China and members of the European Union – signed a declaration to cooperate on the development of "frontier" AI tech to minimize risks. 

The balance between those risks and the incredible potential of AI has remained at the heart of the debate over the past year following ChatGPT’s public launch and accelerated following mainstream attention in March of this year. 

Some leaders, including Elon Musk, who attended the summit, have raised wild claims about AI potentially leading to the extinction of humanity – a claim he made without any argument for how such an event would occur, according to the BBC. 

King Charles III is aware of the concerns, and he placed the responsibility at the feet of the nations that signed the Bletchley Declaration, stressing that there is a "clear imperative to ensure that this rapidly evolving technology remains safe and secure." 

"AI does not respect international boundaries," he said, but he hailed the role his country has played in trying to lead and coordinate the development of AI regulation, saying he was "proud" that the summit occurred in the birthplace of modern computing. 

The United Kingdom has played a role in AI development, starting with Alan Turing’s creation of the foundational computing machine. Former CIA director Gen. David Petraeus, during an interview with Fox News Digital, noted that the U.S. essentially poached top British AI researchers from universities to accelerate its own efforts to develop cutting-edge technology. 

"We should remember that some of the most impressive achievements in AI actually began in the United Kingdom," Petraeus said. "It’s also true that our major software and IT companies bought many of these and then brought them to the United States."

Petraeus, a retired four-star Army general, argued that the U.S. did not have any responsibility to keep its allies on the cutting edge of AI development unless it posed a national security risk by allowing them to lag. 

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak tried to keep the United Kingdom apace of its allies and rivals regarding AI development: He pledged $125 million toward investment in advanced computer chips, produced by companies such as Nvidia, that are necessary to research and develop AI – though, some critics claimed the amount fell far short of what was required. 

Sunak responded during the Bletchley Park summit by increasing that commitment to just shy of $500 million toward the AI sector to bolster the country’s efforts. The investment aims to inspire innovation and keep the U.K. at the front of the sector, according to The Telegraph.