On November 1, Nigeria, along with 28 other nations, signed the historic Bletchley Declaration, marking a pivotal moment in global efforts to shape the responsible development and deployment of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
This landmark agreement, reflects a shared vision among nations, acknowledging both the immense opportunities and the significant risks that AI presents to humanity.
Harnessing AI for Global Well-being
The declaration affirms that AI has the potential to transform and enhance human well-being, peace, and prosperity on a global scale. The signatory countries, including the US, UK, China, Australia, Brazil, India, and the European Union, commit to designing, developing, deploying, and using AI in a manner that is safe, human-centric, trustworthy, and responsible.
They recognize the international community’s efforts to collaborate on AI for inclusive economic growth, sustainable development, and innovation while safeguarding human rights and fundamental freedoms.
AI’s Expanding Role in Daily Life
AI systems are already integral to various domains of daily life, including housing, employment, transport, education, health, accessibility, and justice.
The signatory nations acknowledge the increasing prevalence of AI and affirm the need for its safe development to harness transformative opportunities for the collective good.
This extends to public services, science, clean energy, biodiversity, climate action, and the realization of human rights, contributing to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Addressing Risks and Challenges
While recognizing the tremendous potential, the Bletchley Declaration underscores that AI also poses significant risks, particularly in domains of daily life.
The signatories welcome international efforts to examine and address the potential impact of AI systems, emphasizing the protection of human rights, transparency, fairness, accountability, regulation, safety, ethics, and privacy.
They acknowledge the need to address unforeseen risks, such as the manipulation of content or the generation of deceptive content.
Frontier AI Safety Concerns
The declaration highlights particular safety risks at the ‘frontier’ of AI, where highly capable general-purpose models and specific narrow AI could exhibit capabilities that match or exceed today’s most advanced models.
Risks stem from potential intentional misuse or unintended issues of control, especially in domains like cybersecurity and biotechnology.
The signatories express concern about serious, even catastrophic, harm arising from the significant capabilities of these AI models, emphasizing the urgency of understanding and addressing these potential risks.
International Collaboration for Responsible AI
Recognizing that many risks from AI are inherently international, the signatory nations commit to working together through existing international fora and initiatives to ensure human-centric, trustworthy, and responsible AI.
They emphasize the importance of a pro-innovation and proportionate governance approach, considering national circumstances and legal frameworks.
The Bletchley Declaration encourages cooperation on approaches such as common principles and codes of conduct.
Building an Inclusive Global Dialogue
The signatory nations highlight the role of all actors, including nations, international fora, companies, civil society, and academia, in ensuring the safety of AI.
They emphasize the importance of inclusive AI and bridging the digital divide. International collaboration should engage a broad range of partners, and development-oriented approaches and policies should help developing countries strengthen AI capacity building.
Focus on Frontier AI Risk Mitigation
The declaration stresses the shared agenda for addressing frontier AI risk, focusing on identifying shared concerns, building a scientific understanding, and developing risk-based policies across countries.
The signatories commit to supporting an internationally inclusive network of scientific research on frontier AI safety.
A Path Forward: Inclusive Global Dialogue Continues
The signatory nations resolve to sustain an inclusive global dialogue, engaging existing international fora and contributing openly to broader international discussions.
The commitment to ongoing research on frontier AI safety aims to harness the transformative positive potential of AI responsibly for the benefit of all.
The nations look forward to reconvening in 2024 to further advance these crucial efforts.