EU’s von der Leyen to attend Britain’s AI summit

By Martin Coulter

LONDON (Reuters) – Two of the European Union’s most senior officials plan to attend Britain’s artificial intelligence (AI) safety summit next week, a two-day event that organisers hope will kickstart international dialogue on AI regulation.

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, and Vera Jourova, a vice president, will attend the summit, according to an update to their official calendars published on Friday.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is set to host around 100 guests at Bletchley Park, the country estate in southern England where mathematician Alan Turing helped crack Nazi Germany’s Enigma code.

While Sunak hopes to secure Britain’s role as a world leader in AI regulation, some have questioned what the summit will achieve in practice. Last week, Bloomberg reported a number of world leaders – including Germany’s Olaf Scholz and Canada’s Justin Trudeau – would not be attending.

The Commission previously declined to confirm whether any EU representatives would be at the event, saying in September that officials were reflecting on potential EU participation.

While several world leaders, including U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, are expected to attend the summit, the full guest list has not been made public.

The UK government’s agenda for the event, published earlier this month, includes discussions on the unpredictable advances of the technology and the potential for humans to lose control of it.

Matt Clifford, a tech investor and one of two chief organisers of the event, recently told Reuters the aim of the summit was to kickstart international dialogue on AI regulation.

“It’s not a parliament,” Clifford said. “We’re not making laws. We’re not making treaties. We’re trying to bring different people into the conversation with very different opinions.”

(Reporting by Martin Coulter; editing by Christina Fincher; Editing by Sharon Singleton)