Jensen Huang and Sam Altman among tech chiefs invited to federal AI Safety Board

Stacking the deck – we've heard of it

Leaders of the world's most prominent AI companies are being recruited for the Homeland Security Department's new advisory group.

Officially titled the Artificial Intelligence Safety and Security Board, the group will counsel US government on a wide range of AI-related issues. The guidance would concern not only national security but also electricity consumption (which is a problem on the horizon for AI) and manufacturing, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The board is reportedly set to meet up for the first time in May and intends to gather once per quarter.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said that while AI could bring immense benefits to the US, implementing AI-based tech improperly could have consequences. "A failure to deploy AI in a safe and secure and responsible manner when it comes to critical infrastructure can be devastating," Mayorkas said.

The department is pulling out all the stops for the board's membership, which includes some of the biggest names in the tech industry: Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. Other important figures also got tipped for the job, including AMD CEO Lisa Su and Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins.

The tech chiefs make up only a portion of the board, which is understood to have almost two dozen members who boast important credentials in other areas such as academia, politics, and other industries.

Other notable non-AI company members are Northrop Grumman CEO Kathy Warden, executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Damon Hewitt, and Governor of Maryland Wes Moore, a member of the Democratic Party like President Biden, who last fall put in place AI safety measures via an executive order.

The report didn't give a complete list of the AI safety board's membership or how prominently the various industries are represented, however, it seems likely that the tech industry is going to compose the single largest group with eight known members. The board is expected to have 23 member seats in total.

If the cohort of tech and AI chiefs present a united front, then they could be just four additional votes away from achieving a majority on decisions. "They understand the mission of this board," Mayorkas said in respect to these concerns. "This is not a mission that is about business development."

Although it's not clear how successful this board will be in its aims to guide the US government on AI-related issues, it's certain that the topic of AI is getting very complex. In the defense industry, it's being tested for autonomous fighting vehicles including jets; at the same time, House Reps are debating whether AI companies need to disclose whether or not their training data include copyrighted content.

Oh, and AI might make election interference even more potent than it was the last couple of times. Given that the upcoming Presidential election is only a little over six months away, the board's creation is very timely. ®

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