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Sunak and AI leaders discuss ‘existential threats’ and disinformation fears

Rishi Sunak has discussed with leading figures in artificial intelligence the need for regulation to mitigate risks ranging from disinformation and national security to “existential threats”.

The Prime Minister sat down with the chief executives of ChatGPT firm OpenAI, Google Deepmind and Anthropic to discuss concerns on Wednesday evening.

Mr Sunak said that AI is the “defining technology of the time” with the potential to “positively transform humanity”.

But a joint statement from the meeting acknowledged that the technology’s success is contingent on having the “right guardrails” in place so the public can be confident it is safe.

Mr Sunak stressed to OpenAI’s Sam Altman, Google’s Demis Hassabis and Anthropic’s Dario Amodei that the regulation must be agile and be co-ordinated internationally.

“The PM and CEOs discussed the risks of the technology, ranging from disinformation and national security, to existential threats,” their statement said.

“They discussed safety measures, voluntary actions that labs are considering to manage the risks, and the possible avenues for international collaboration on AI safety and regulation.”

Mr Sunak has advocated the technology’s benefits for national security and the economy, but growing concerns have been raised with the prominence of the ChatGPT bot.

As well as the concerns discussed by Mr Sunak and the tech figures, jobs are being put at risk by the rapidly evolving technology.

Last week BT Group said it will cut up to 55,000 jobs by the end of the decade amid plans to shift to AI and automated services.

Former Government chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance has warned that AI could have a comparable impact on jobs with the industrial revolution.

Earlier this month, Geoffrey Hinton, the man widely seen as the godfather of AI, warned some of the dangers of AI chatbots are “quite scary” as he quit his job at Google.

Mr Sunak has been hardening his tone towards AI. The Government’s policy paper on the technology published less than two months ago was titled “A pro-innovation approach to AI regulation”.