Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning , Critical Infrastructure Security , Next-Generation Technologies & Secure Development

Tech Titans, AI Leaders Join New Federal AI Security Board

Heads of OpenAI, Microsoft, Alphabet Join Inaugural AI Safety and Security Board
Tech Titans, AI Leaders Join New Federal AI Security Board
Tech company leaders joined a federal board meant to ensure the safe deployment of artificial intelligence in critical infrastructure. (Image: Shutterstock)

Leaders from major tech and artificial intelligence firms joined a federal safety and security board that aims to ensure the safe development and deployment of AI technologies within America's critical infrastructure systems, officials announced Friday.

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The heads of Alphabet, Microsoft and OpenAI are among the 22 representatives from public and private sector entities joining the Department of Homeland Security Artificial Intelligence Safety and Security Board established under the administration's 2023 executive order on AI. The board includes civil rights leaders, academics and policymakers from the Center for Democracy, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

The inaugural board will convene this year to develop a broad set of recommendations for critical infrastructure stakeholders, including guidance "to prevent and prepare for AI-related disruptions to critical services that impact national or economic security, public health or safety," according to a statement from DHS.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who will chair the board, said the group will work to ensure the nation's critical infrastructure "effectively guards against the risks and realizes the enormous potential" associated with AI technologies.

"Artificial intelligence is a transformative technology that can advance our national interests in unprecedented ways," Mayorkas said. "At the same time, it presents real risks - risks that we can mitigate by adopting best practices and taking other studied, concrete actions."

According to the department, the board will initiate quarterly meetings in May and make immediate plans to provide DHS and the critical infrastructure community with actionable recommendations for securing AI. The board will also establish a forum for critical infrastructure operators and AI leaders to share information with DHS on the emerging security risks associated with AI tools.

DHS also plans to use the board to generate ideas on how to combat evolving threats from foreign adversaries, after the agency's Homeland Threat Assessment of 2024 said hostile nation-state actors will likely use AI-assisted tools "to enable larger-scale, faster, efficient and more evasive cyberattacks" targeting "pipelines, railways and other U.S. critical infrastructure."

The board includes a mix of tech giants such as OpenAI's Sam Altman, Alphabet's Sundar Pichai and Amazon Web Services' Adam Selipsky. It also includes Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell - who chairs the U.S. Conference of Mayors' Standing Committee on Technology and Innovation - and researchers such as Nicol Turner Lee, director of the Brookings Institution's Center for Technology Innovation.

"It is critical to have a civil rights perspective on any board with the mission to responsibly deploy artificial intelligence in our nation’s infrastructure," Maya Wiley, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said in a statement.

DHS has launched a wave of AI initiatives in recent years. It appointed its first-ever chief AI officer in September and barred personnel from using AI technologies to profile or discriminate against protected individuals (see: US DHS Announces New AI Guardrails). The agency is also recruiting dozens of AI experts as part of a broader effort to integrate AI abilities into government operations.

DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The agency said it has received more than 4,000 applications to date and is currently in the process of reviewing and hiring candidates.

About the Author

Chris Riotta

Chris Riotta

Managing Editor, GovInfoSecurity

Riotta is a journalist based in Washington, D.C. He earned his master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he served as 2021 class president. His reporting has appeared in NBC News, Nextgov/FCW, Newsweek Magazine, The Independent and more.

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