OpenAI has announced a $1 million grant program to enhance the cybersecurity capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI). The news comes as the world pivots from excitement to anxiety about the risk of extinction posed by AI.
The move signals the firm wants to add a responsible, accountable face to the fast-growing technology. Although, the fund is arguably meager for a company projecting $1 billion in revenue by 2024.
Is $1 Million Enough for Cyber Security?
OpenAI wants to “empower defenders”— entities that protect computer systems and networks from malicious activity. The company also wants to “elevate discourse” and encourage in-depth discussions about the intersection of AI and cybersecurity.
Several avenues are being evaluated. These include identifying security issues in source code, creating deception technology to misdirect attackers, and aiding reverse engineers in malware detection.
OpenAI is one of the most renowned operators in the space, having pioneered ChatGPT. According to UBS, citing data from analytics firm Similarweb, the AI chatbot is the “fastest-growing consumer application in history.”
Undoubtedly, some will see this intervention as a token gesture for a company that dominates the AI space.
Risk of Extinction Posed by AI Adoption
The announcement comes days after the company signed an open letter with the Center for AI Safety. It warned that AI could cause an extinction-level event.
Moreover, other signatories included prominent academics, AI experts, politicians, technologists, and Bill Gates.
“Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war,” reads the statement.
The grant is not the first from OpenAI. Last month, the firm announced its Bug Bounty Program calling on experts to look for “vulnerabilities, bugs, or security flaws” in its systems.
The explosion of AI tools since last year was initially greeted with amusement. The first wave was dominated by AI image generators like DALL-E (also owned by OpenAI), whose creations were often uncanny and distorted.
However, the launch of ChatGPT in late 2022 exploded the technology’s popularity and visibility. Since then, the technology’s exponential growth and potential dangers have come into full view.
Governments worldwide are racing to regulate this nascent industry and put guardrails on a technology few thought of at the turn of the decade.
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