Australia has joined the European Union (EU) and 27 other countries, including the US, UK and China, in confirming a declaration to encourage the “safe, ethical and responsible” development of artificial intelligence (AI).
The Bletchley Declaration, which was signed during the AI Safety Summit hosted by the UK Government and attended by Deputy Prime Minister, Richard Marles, and Minister for Industry and Science, Ed Husic, signalled a commitment from the international community to ensure AI is developed with appropriate guardrails in place.
As part of its commitment, the UK will also move to establish an AI Safety Institute, staffed by researchers, machine learning specialists and engineers, which will evaluate AI models under development by key companies.
As well, the Bletchley countries have agreed to an annual Frontier AI State of the Science report, summarising the latest international research on AI Safety, with CSIRO Chief Scientist Bronwyn Fox representing Australia on the panel overseeing the report.
The AI Safety Summit brought together governments, leading AI companies, civil society groups and academics to consider the risks of AI, especially at the frontier of development, and discuss how they can be mitigated through more coordinated international action.
The participating states stressed the importance of collaborating on testing the next generation of AI models against a range of critical national security, safety, and societal risks.
Separately, Australia and the UK signed a joint statement to advance cooperation in quantum technology, signed by Ed Husic and UK Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, Michelle Donelan, during the AI Safety Summit held at Bletchley Park.
The Joint Statement reaffirmed the strong technology relationship between Australia and the UK, and will support joint activities under the Australia-UK Cyber and Critical Technology Partnership and the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement. It will also deliver on the international actions identified in the Australian Government’s National Quantum Strategy.
The arrangement will open channels for more investment between UK and Australian companies, facilitate research exchanges and increase the sharing of expertise between the two countries.
This will help accelerate the development of quantum technologies such as faster computer processing and more precise and accurate sensors.
“Like AI, quantum will profoundly change our world, meaning international collaboration is essential,” Minister Husic said.
“Australia is a global leader in quantum technologies. This Joint Statement reaffirms our global leadership and builds an important link to the UK to boost our collaboration and lift investment.
“The UK is Australia’s second biggest quantum collaborator after the United States, and we have a long history of collaborating on technology. I look forward to seeing the long-term benefits for both nations in the years ahead.”