Wednesday, 22 May 2024

The man Rishi Sunak left in charge explains what gives him sleepless nights

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden has revealed what keeps him up at night, as he performs the duties of acting PM in Rishi Sunak’s absence. The Prime Minister is currently holidaying in California, and while he’s away the MP for Hertsmere is in charge.

Speaking to The Times, Mr Dowden admitted the world was far more “unstable” than when he entered parliament in 2015 and pointed to the terrifying security threats presented by artificial intelligence.

He said: “You can see the approach that China is taking in the South China Sea. You can see the kind of aggression that you see from Iran and elsewhere. We continue to be in the nuclear-armed age.

“We continue to be in an age where there’s rapid advances in technology with artificial intelligence. All of those things mean that we can’t sit back passively. We have to up our game.”

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In a chilling prediction, Mr Dowden believes AI will shape the UK quicker and more significantly than the industrial revolution 250 years ago, and warned that the security threats it poses are vast.

He explained how AI can be harnessed by a much wider range of malign actors to enhance their capabilities.

“We need to be careful not to overstate these things and do it on an evidential basis, but there is the risk there that has to be addressed,” he added.

And he said the government were taking the threat very seriously.

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The acting Prime Minister was keen to note conflicts between nation states are likely to be economic as well as conventional.

He explained: “We’ve moved from a situation 20 years ago where conflict between nation states was through conventional means to one in which the economic space has become much, much more contested.

“A large part of my job is driving efforts to make sure that we protect our national security in the economic space, whether that’s looking at critical minerals, the things that underpin the green industrial revolution and looking at those supply chains.”

He said AI takes masive amounts of information from datasets and “enables you to get to a point where you can make a decision.”

And he sought to reassure those with concerns over the advancing technology that ministers are never going to outsource artificial intelligence in the making of decisions.

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