History in the making as Bletchley Park hosts world’s first AI Safety Summit

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Elon Musk and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak among global leaders attending event

Bletchley Park, home of the Second World War codebreakers, is making history once again by hosting the world's first Artificial Intelligence (AI) Safety Summit.

Just as the Codebreakers of Bletchley Park played a crucial role in shaping the outcome of the Second World War, the AI Safety Summit aims to shape the future of AI technology by fostering collaboration and promoting responsible practices.

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Bletchley Park was chosen as the perfect setting for the landmark event this week, reflecting the UK’s proud tradition of being at the frontier of new technology advancements. (1 /2 Nov)

Historic Bletchley Park is the setting for the world's first AI summitHistoric Bletchley Park is the setting for the world's first AI summit
Historic Bletchley Park is the setting for the world's first AI summit

The ground-breaking Summit event brings together industry professionals and global leaders including Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Elon Musk, Tesla chief executive and owner of the social media site X.

Representatives from 27 countries, including US Vice President, Kamala Harris, and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, will also be attending with extra security measures in place.

In addition temporary structures have been built ahead of the event to house the Summit’s visitors with the iconic Mansion benefiting from vital maintenance and conservation work.

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Iain Standen, chief executive of the Bletchley Park Trust, said: "We are thrilled to host the world's first AI Safety Summit at Bletchley Park.

"As a site that has witnessed the power of human intelligence, emerging technology and collaboration, we recognise the importance of ensuring that AI technology is developed and deployed in a safe and ethical manner.

“We are incredibly excited to provide the stage for discussions on global safety standards, which will help everyone manage and monitor the risks of artificial intelligence. 

“It is also a huge opportunity to showcase our museum and visitor attraction to tech and country leaders as well as the international media, who are here to report on the event.”

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Considered the birthplace of modern computing Bletchley Park was the place where the world’s first programmable computers were deployed, such as the Colossus used to defeat the Nazis.

Bletchley Park Codebreaker Alan Turing was one of the computing pioneers and leading minds who worked there. A pioneering mathematician who is often considered ‘the father of computer science’, his powerful mind allowed him to break conceptual ground in the fields of both cryptography at (BP) and computing (in his academic work).

Other notable BP codebreakers such as Max Newman, Jack Good and Donald Michie wrote extensively about AI/intelligent machines in their post-BP careers. Ten Colossi, each weighing around a ton, were built and used by Bletchley Park to attack the German cipher produced by the Lorenz machines.

Bletchley Park is showcasing historic items from its collection relating to computing in the temporary structures built on-site, alongside items from The National Museum of Computing, The National Archives, Kings College Cambridge, and the British Library. These include an Enigma machine, rare surviving fragments from Colossus machines that were mostly destroyed post-war, plus other items related to encryption and decryption of wartime communications.

Parts of the museum are open to offer guests of the Summit a unique opportunity to step back in time and experience the incredible stories of those who worked there.