Published: 15:01, May 22, 2024
Seoul session stresses AI safety in declaration
By Yang Han in Hong Kong
In this photo provided by South Korea Presidential Office, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol speaks during the virtual AI Seoul Summit at the Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, May 21, 2024. (SOUTH KOREA PRESIDENTIAL OFFICE VIA AP)

A declaration issued at a session of the AI Seoul Summit is promoting artificial intelligence technology's safe, innovative, and inclusive use.

During a virtual session co-chaired by South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on May 21, the Seoul Declaration was backed by participating countries Australia, Canada, the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The countries affirmed their “common dedication to fostering international cooperation and dialogue on AI in the face of its unprecedented advancements and the impact on our economies and societies”, the declaration said.

A new agreement was also reached between the 10 countries and the EU to launch an international network to accelerate the advancement of the science of AI safety

The declaration also recognized the importance of a risk-based approach in governing AI to maximize the benefits and address the broad range of risks to ensure the safe, secure, and trustworthy design, development, deployment, and use of Al.

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Noting the emergence of “generative AI” — such as ChatGPT and other programs that produce content — Yoon said the rapid development of the technology will have a huge ripple effect on human society.

South Korea will harmoniously pursue AI safety, innovation, and inclusivity, he added.

A new agreement was also reached between the 10 countries and the EU to launch an international network to accelerate the advancement of the science of AI safety.

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This follows the Bletchley Declaration — the first global guidelines on AI safety — signed by 28 countries and the EU at the AI Safety Summit hosted by the UK at Bletchley Park last November.

“Six months ago at Bletchley, we launched the UK’s AI Safety Institute. The first of its kind,” said Sunak. “Numerous countries followed suit and now with this news of a network we can continue to make international progress on AI safety.”

The two-day AI Seoul Summit, co-hosted by South Korea and the UK, followed on from November’s landmark meeting and brought together international governments, AI companies, academia, and civil society to advance global discussions on AI.

As the first move in our world, the summit also secured a commitment from 16 leading AI technology companies, from around the world including China, the US, the Middle East, and Europe, to develop AI safety.

On May 22, South Korean Minister of Science and ICT Lee Jong Ho and UK Secretary of State for Science, Innovation, and Technology Michelle Donelan co-chaired an in-person ministers’ session in Seoul to look at AI safety, sustainability, and resilience.