The significant risks that AI poses to global security are becoming clearer. That’s partly why UK prime minister Rishi Sunak is hosting other world leaders at the AI Safety summit on November 1-2 at the famous second world war code-breaking site Bletchley Park. Yet while the technology of AI is developing at an alarming pace, the real threat may come from governments themselves.
The track record of AI development over the last 20 years provides a range of evidence of government misuse of the technology around the world. This includes excessive surveillance practices, the harnessing of AI for the spread of disinformation.
Although recent focus has been on private companies that develop AI products, governments are not the impartial arbiters they might seem to be at this AI summit. Instead, they have played a role that’s just as integral to the precise way that AI has developed – and they will continue to.
There are continual reports that the leading technological nations are entering into an AI arms race. No one state really started this race. Its development has been complex, and many groups – from inside and outside governments – have played a role.