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Self-Publishing News: When Rishi Met Elon – What Actually Happened At The AI Safety Summit?

Self-Publishing News: When Rishi Met Elon – What Actually Happened at the AI Safety Summit?

ALLi News Editor, Dan Holloway

The only people who love a photo opportunity more than tech CEOs are politicians. So when Elon Musk sat down very publicly with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at last week’s AI Safety Summit, it was hard to tell who was congratulating themselves on the limelight more. ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway reports on the summit and its effects on copyright.

Both parties would have welcomed the chance to have the focus taken away from their other business. Neither of them quite managed it. Disappointing all parties, the media didn’t really catch fire with the summit. Those other stories were just too alluring (or maybe just lurid). For the tech world, the bigger story by far was the string of guilty verdicts registered against disgraced FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried. And for the UK Government, it was the explosive testimony at the Covid inquiry.

So when asking what we learned from it, the first lesson needs to be that. Killer robots and the thought of an end to work are, whatever it feels like to those of us in some way on the inside, not yet subjects to grip the collective imagination. However close pundits or experts may think extreme outcomes are, these things feel too far off compared to the cost-of-living crisis or current geopolitics for people to have the spare bandwidth to worry about them. As we learned from Covid, and as many would say we are learning from climate change, exponential growth curves are fundamentally mismatched with the human imagination and its ability to internalise narrative.

What happened at the Event

In fairness to the event, there was a document signed. And with the US and China both parties to an agreement on the nature of the threat of AI, that’s a significant happening. But details of what that agreement might entail in terms of action were scant. Around the summit we have seen the announcement of various new research and oversight bodies and committees. But they lack a concerted plan of action.

The one big headline to come from the conference was Musk’s prognostication that AI would see an end to the need to work. But that, of course, is not new. Musk has long been a supporter of Universal Basic Income (UBI) as a way of enabling humans to flourish in a post-automation world.

For all the pronouncements and seeming agreements, the biggest impact will probably arise from disagreement. Musk has been one of the loudest voices calling for a moratorium on AI development while risks are fully assessed. Sunak made it very clear when they talked that he was not going to support that. He understood the risks, he said. Hence the need for joint action (short of hitting pause) and oversight. But more important were the opportunities. So AI development will continue. And the consequences, whatever they are, will escalate. And it will be people in professions that are increasingly automated who will spend most time trying to navigate the implications of that.

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Author: Dan Holloway

Dan Holloway is a novelist, poet and spoken word artist. He is the MC of the performance arts show The New Libertines, which has appeared at festivals and fringes from Manchester to Stoke Newington. In 2010 he was the winner of the 100th episode of the international spoken prose event Literary Death Match, and earlier this year he competed at the National Poetry Slam final at the Royal Albert Hall. His latest collection, The Transparency of Sutures, is available for Kindle at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Transparency-Sutures-Dan-Holloway-ebook/dp/B01A6YAA40


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