The workers most affected by AI are at risk of being marginalised by the UK’s upcoming AI Safety Summit, warned an open letter signed by over 100 union groups and officials.
The letter brands the UK’s AI Safety Summit as a “missed opportunity” for UK workers, claiming the event is too “closed door” for it to include the views of the workers who are most at risk of being displaced by AI.
Earlier this month, the UK Prime Minister’s representative for the AI Safety Summit, Matt Clifford, announced on X (formerly Twitter) that only 100 attendees would be invited to the summit, stating that the event’s small location was behind this decision.
The open letter states that this closed door policy has reduced the inclusion of civil society organisations and calls it “selective and limited”, which it states will inhibit the summit from including a diverse range of opinions and expertise.
Furthermore, the letter also states that the summit is too concerned with the far-future existential risks of AI rather than the current reality facing workers.
“For many millions of people in the UK and across the world the risks and harms of AI are not distant,” the letter reads, “… This is about being fired from your job by algorithm, or unfairly profiled for a loan based on your identity or postcode.”
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Sateesh Seetharamiah, CEO of Edge Platforms, EdgeVerve, told Verdict that addressing AI’s integrity is necessary in today’s work environment.
“It is essential to view AI as a complement to human workers rather than a replacement,” Seetharamiah stated, “… many tasks and jobs require creativity, emotional intelligence and human interaction, which are less likely to be fully automated by AI.”
The open letter called for a more inclusive approach to discussing and regulating AI, requiring the voices of those most affected by AI to be invited to participate and have an equal seat at the table.
The UK’s Trade Union Congress assistant general secretary, Kate Bell, stated that AI regulation should not be solely in the hands of Big Tech and politicians.
“It is hugely disappointing that unions and wider civil society have been denied proper representation,” she stated.
According to forecasts by research analyst company GlobalData, the total AI global market will be worth over $900bn by 2030. Creating AI regulation must extend beyond tech companies who stand to profit greatly from the technology.
The AI Safety Summit will take place on the 1-2 November at Bletchley Park.