UK: AI Safety Summit excludes crucial voices

UK: AI Safety Summit excludes crucial voices - Digital

Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

ARTICLE 19 joined other civil society organisations and labour groups in signing an open letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak criticising the UK government’s AI Safety Summit, which excludes the communities and workers most affected by artificial intelligence (AI). Read the letter below. 

Dear Prime Minister,

Your ‘Global Summit on AI Safety’ seeks to tackle the transformational risks and benefits of AI, acknowledging that AI ‘will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another’.

Yet the communities and workers most affected by AI have been marginalised by the Summit.

The involvement of civil society organisations that bring a diversity of expertise and perspectives has been selective and limited.

This is a missed opportunity.

As it stands, the Summit is a closed door event, overly focused on speculation about the remote ‘existential risks’ of ‘frontier’ AI systems – systems built by the very same corporations who now seek to shape the rules.

For many millions of people in the UK and across the world, the risks and harms of AI are not distant – they are felt in the here and now.

This is about being fired from your job by algorithm, or unfairly profiled for a loan based on your identity or postcode.

People are being subject to authoritarian biometric surveillance, or to discredited predictive policing.

Small businesses and artists are being squeezed out, and innovation smothered as a handful of big tech companies capture even more power and influence.

To make AI truly safe we must tackle these and many other issues of huge individual and societal significance. Successfully doing so will lay the foundations for managing future risks.

For the Summit itself and the work that has to follow, a wide range of expertise and the voices of communities most exposed to AI harms must have a powerful say and equal seat at the table. The inclusion of these voices will ensure that the public and policy makers get the full picture.

In this way we can work towards ensuring the future of AI is as safe and beneficial as possible for communities in the UK and across the world.

30 October 2023

Signed by

  • Connected By Data
  • The Trades Union Congress, representing 6 million UK workers
  • Open Rights Group
  • Mozilla
  • Consumers International
  • Amnesty International
  • AI Now Institute
  • The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), representing 60 unions and 12.5 million American workers
  • International Transport Workers Federation, representing 18.5 million workers globally
  • European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), representing 45 million members from 93 trade union organisations in 41 European countries
  • UNI Europa Union, representing 7 million European service workers
  • UNI Global Union, representing 20 million service workers in 150 countries
  • IndustriALL Global Union, representing over 50 million workers in 140 countries
  • The Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD
  • International Trade Union Confederation, representing 191 million trade union members in 167 countries and territories
  • Neil Lawrence, University of Cambridge DeepMind Professor of Machine Learning and Senior AI Fellow at The Alan Turing Institute
  • Burkhard Schafer, Professor of Computational Legal Theory, University of Edinburgh
  • The Open Data Institute
  • Tabitha Goldstaub, former chair of the AI Council
  • Dr Mike Katell, The Alan Turing Institute
  • Adam Leon Smith, Chair of British Computer Society Fellows Technical Advisory Group
  • Liberty
  • ForHumanity
  • Reset Tech
  • Eticas Tech
  • Data & Society
  • Access Now
  • Dr P M Krafft, Creative Computing Institute
  • 5 Rights Foundation
  • Global Action Plan
  • Thompsons Solicitors
  • Peter Flach, Professor of Artificial Intelligence, University of Bristol
  • Professor Sue Black OBE, Durham University
  • Professor Vijay Varadharajan, Advanced Cyber Security Engineering Research Centre (ACSRC), The University of Newcastle, Australia
  • Andelka Phillips, Senior Lecturer in Law, Science and Technology, University of Queensland
  • Professor Alan Bundy, the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh
  • Ismael Kherroubi Garcia, CEO of Kairoi
  • Tania Duarte, founder of We and AI
  • Dr Nora Ni Loideain, Information Law & Policy Centre, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London
  • Dr Miranda Mowbray, honorary lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Bristol
  • Dr. Cristina Richie, Lecturer of Ethics of Technology at University of Edinburgh
  • UNISON – the public service union
  • UNITE the Union
  • National Education Union
  • USDAW – Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers
  • Community Union
  • National Union of Journalists
  • TSSA – the union for people in transport and travel
  • United Tech and Allied Workers
  • Prospect union
  • Privacy International
  • Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH)
  • Research ICT Africa
  • Child Rights International Network (CRIN)
  • Global Witness
  • Finance Innovation Lab
  • Shân M. Millie, Bright Blue Hare
  • Kate Baucherel, Galia Digital
  • European Center for Not-for-Profit Law
  • Data, Tech & Black Communities CIC
  • Defend Democracy
  • Avaaz Foundation
  • Glitch
  • Superbloom
  • Open Futures
  • Migration Mobilities, University of Bristol
  • BWI Global Union, representing 12 million workers globally
  • Education International
  • Public Law Project
  • Dr Richard Clayton, Director, Cambridge University Cybercrime Centre
  • Professor Lilian Edwards, Newcastle Law School
  • Dr Julian Huppert, University of Cambridge and former MP
  • Baroness Frances O’Grady, former General Secretary of the TUC
  • Big Brother Watch
  • Mick Whitley MP
  • Professor Peter Sommer, Birmingham City University
  • Understanding Patient Data
  • Just Treatment
  • Rachel Coldicutt, Executive Director, Careful Trouble
  • Professor Nathalie Smuha, KU Leuven Faculty of Law & NYU School of Law
  • Statewatch
  • Professor Sara (Meg) Davis, University of Warwick
  • Baroness Dawn Primarolo, former MP
  • Lord John Monks, former General Secretary of the TUC
  • Professor Douwe Korff, Emeritus professor of international law, European human rights and digital rights expert
  • Judith Townend, Reader in Digital Society and Justice, University of Sussex
  • The Citizens
  • Phoebe Li, Reader in Law and Technology, University of Sussex
  • Professor Alex Lascarides, University of Edinburgh
  • StopWatch
  • Dr Gina Helfrich, Centre for Technomoral Futures, University of Edinburgh
  • Maria Farrell, writer and Senior Fellow At Large, University of Western Australia Tech and Policy Lab
  • ARTICLE 19
  • NASUWT, teachers union
  • Fair Trials
  • Worker Info Exchange
  • Dr Alex Wood, University of Bristol
  • Kristophina Shilongo, Senior Mozilla Fellow in Tech Policy
  • University and College Union (UCU)
  • The Racial Justice Network
  • Professor Martin Parker, University of Bristol Business School
  • Centre for Technomoral Futures, University of Edinburgh
  • Derechos Digitales
  • Fair Vote UK
  • Professor Sonia Livingstone, London School of Economics
  • Institute for the Future of Work
  • Inclusioneering
  • Just Algorithms Action Group
  • The End Violence Against Women Coalition
  • United We Rise UK
  • Elanta Services
  • Homo Digitalis
  • Safe Online Women Kenya