Former NSA Director Joins OpenAI; Will Serve On Board And "Security" Committee

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Jun 14, 2024 - 04:35 PM

Days after we noted that OpenAI is expanding its lobbying army to influence regulation, the company announced that former head of the National Security Agency (NSA) - and the longest-serving leader of USCYBERCOM, Paul M. Nakasone, has joined board - just four months after stepping down at the government's top clandestine data monitoring organization.

Nakasone, a retired US Army general, was nominated to lead the NSA by former President Donald Trump. He directed the agency from 2018 until his departure in February of this year. AsThe Verge notes, Nakasone wrote a WaPo op-ed in support of renewing Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which was ultimately reauthorized by Congress in April - which contained a "terrifying" supercharged spying provision opposed by privacy advocates on both sides of the aisle in DC.

According to OpenAI, Nakasone will also join the "Safety and Security Committee," which was announced in May by CEO Sam Altman "as a first priority."

According to the company;

The security of OpenAI’s systems—from protecting the large AI training supercomputers we operate to securing our sensitive model weights and the data entrusted to us by customers—is central to achieving our mission. As AI technology becomes more capable on the path to artificial general intelligence (AGI), we are becoming more resilient to increasingly sophisticated cyber security threats over time.

Nakasone’s insights will also contribute to OpenAI’s efforts to better understand how AI can be used to strengthen cybersecurity by quickly detecting and responding to cybersecurity threats. We believe AI has the potential to deliver significant benefits in this area for many institutions frequently targeted by cyber attacks like hospitals, schools, and financial institutions.

Nakasone will "also contribute to OpenAI’s efforts to better understand how AI can be used to strengthen cybersecurity by quickly detecting and responding to cybersecurity threats."

As The Verge further notes;

Recent departures tied to safety at OpenAI include co-founder and chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, who played a key role in Sam Altman’s November firing and eventual un-firing, and Jan Leike, who said on X that “safety culture and processes have taken a backseat to shiny products.”

"Artificial intelligence has the potential to have huge positive impacts on people’s lives, but it can only meet this potential if these innovations are securely built and deployed," said board chair Bret Taylor in a statement. "General Nakasone’s unparalleled experience in areas like cybersecurity will help guide OpenAI in achieving its mission of ensuring artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity."

Per Thursday's release, Nakasone "has served in command and staff positions across all levels of the United States Army with assignments with elite cyber units in the United States, the Republic of Korea, Iraq, and Afghanistan."

OpenAI's board also includes Adam D’Angelo, Larry Summers, Bret Taylor, Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellmann, Nicole Seligman, and Fidji Simo, while Microsoft’s Dee Templeton also has a non-voting observer seat.