‘Risk of extinction’: Rishi Sunak issues warning on the future of humanity and it's terrifying

The Prime Minister believes that AI is as dangerous as pandemics or nuclear war.

Rishi Sunak’s AI warning for future of humanity
© Max Mumby/Indigo/GETTYIMAGES
Rishi Sunak’s AI warning for future of humanity

Over the past few weeks, we’ve had many global concerns to worry about. As Covid variants continue to spread, a hospital trust in the UK has reimplemented masks. Meanwhile, nuclear threats keep emerging as Russia and North Korea remain on terrifyingly chummy terms. However, Rishi Sunak has now added another one to the list, and it’s not what you might expect.

Discover our latest podcast

The Prime Minister announced in a recent speech that Artificial Intelligence should be considered in the same bracket of global risk as pandemics and nuclear warfare. Why? Sunak’s government has carried out a new analysis that suggests AI will pose a major security risk to the UK within the next 2 years. Here’s why the Prime Minister is worried and what he plans on doing to minimise the potential danger of this digital tool.

What Rishi Sunak said about AI in his speech

The Prime Minister spoke at the Royal Society - the UK’s academy of sciences - on Thursday 26 October. He compared the massive shift that AI has created in our society to that brought on by the industrial revolution or the arrival of the internet. According to the PM, it is very important that we develop a plan so as to avoid losing control of the technology.

Sunak said he did not want to be ‘alarmist’ but made it clear that he is concerned:

In the most unlikely but extreme cases, there is even the risk that humanity could lose control of AI completely through the kind of AI sometimes referred to as super intelligence.

Sunak suggested that the main threat is security: the exploitation of AI by criminals could see disinformation, fraud and even child sexual abuse become massive issues. He also warned about the potential for the technology to develop weapons:

Get this wrong and AI could make it easier to build chemical or biological weapons. Terrorist groups could use AI to spread fear and destruction on an even greater scale.

Sunak’s suggestions to protect the UK

During his speech, the PM announced that the UK will establish the world’s first AI safety institute. He quoted a statement made by many AI experts earlier in 2023, explaining that ‘mitigating the risk of extinction by AI’ should be a ‘global priority’.

So, how much is this going to cost? Sunak said that that the UK is building a ‘world leading capability to understand and evaluate the safety of AI models with government’:

To do that, we’ve already invested £100 million in a new task force: more funding for AI safety than any other country in the world.

He goes on to explain that the UK government has hired some of the most ‘respected and knowledgeable figures in the world of AI’. The PM believes that, bearing all of these measures in mind, it is fair to say that:

The UK is doing far more than any other country to keep you safe.

It’s true that the threat of AI has been a massive source of discussion in recent times. As NBC News reported in September, when asked whether AI will destroy mankind, Elon Musk replied:

There is some chance that is above zero that AI will kill us all.

However, we did recently ask Chat GPT who would start WW3 and it didn't suggest AI... But then again, that's just what it would say if it were planning the end of the world!

Read more:

Why has Rishi Sunak been reported to the police?

Rishi Sunak's 'convenient' excuse for failing to hand in WhatsApp messages is raising eyebrows

Rishi Sunak: This is where the Prime Minister went to school and how much it cost

Sources used:

Independent: Human extinction risk from AI on same scale as pandemics or nuclear war, Sunak warns

The Times of India: UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has an AI 'warning' for humanity

NBC News: Elon Musk warns of 'civilizational risk' posed by AI in meeting with tech CEOs and senators

Rishi Sunak's latest move has citizens worried about the future of the UK: ‘Very unusual’ Rishi Sunak's latest move has citizens worried about the future of the UK: ‘Very unusual’