King Charles has shed light over the “risks presented by AI” in a virtual speech at the UK’s Artificial Intelligence Safety Summit overnight.
Speaking in a pre-recorded message, the King described artificial intelligence as “no less significant, no less important than the discovery of electricity, the splitting of the atom, the creation of the world wide web, or even the harnessing of fire.”
King Charles acknowledged that AI could unlock the potential to treat insidious illnesses and revolutionise the world’s pushback against climate change.
However, the monarch conversely acknowledged the significant risks that artificial intelligence has the potential to “completely transform life as we know it,” later urging that artificial intelligence’s inherent risks need to be addressed with “a sense of urgency, unity and collective strength.”
The King’s speech was played during the global AI safety summit, which was fittingly held in Milton Keynes’ Bletchley Park – the suburb where the father of modern computing, Alan Turing and a team of experts cracked the Enigma Code during World War Two.
The summit brought together heads of state and tech giants to discuss the potentially harmful effects that artificial intelligence could have on humanity. The event follows the recent explosion of artificial intelligence from being a vague technological concept to piercing public consciousness with the rise of applications such as ChatGPT.
Alongside King Charles, Tesla chief and X (formerly Twitter) head, Elon Musk also spoke on the dangers of AI. Musk, who also co-founded the ChatGPT developer OpenAI, described artificial intelligence as “one of the biggest threats to humanity”.
As per The Guardian, Musk was quoted to have said: “I mean, for the first time, we have a situation where there’s something that is going to be far smarter than the smartest human. So, you know, we’re not stronger or faster than other creatures, but we are more intelligent. And here we are, for the first time really in human history, with something that’s going to be far more intelligent than us.”
King Charles’ pre-recorded message at the summit comes in the midst of an official royal visit to Kenya where the monarch acknowledged the “painful aspects” of Britain’s past colonial actions in the country, which is two months away from approaching 60 years of independence from Britain.
“There were abhorrent and unjustifiable acts of violence committed against Kenyans as they waged, as you said at the United Nations, a painful struggle for independence and sovereignty. And for that, there can be no excuse,” the King said, referring to the violent suppression of the Mau Mau uprising against British colonial forces in the 1950s.
“In coming back to Kenya, it matters greatly to me that I should deepen my own understanding of these wrongs and that I meet some of those whose lives and communities were so grievously affected.”
During their time in Kenya, King Charles and Queen Camilla laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at Uhuru Gardens, their majesties also visited the Mugomo fig tree planted where the Union Jack was lowered when Kenya became a republic in 1963.