Homeland Security Enlists Top AI Experts to Mitigate Critical Infrastructure Risks

The AI Safety and Security Board includes CEOs from Google, Microsoft and IBM

Ben Wodecki, Jr. Editor

April 29, 2024

3 Min Read
Home Security logo on a blue wall
Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security has enlisted AI experts to advise on AI safety and security impacts on critical infrastructure.

The AI Safety and Security Board, which is comprised of business leaders, public officials and academics, will provide recommendations to Homeland Security officials on potential AI risks

Appointees include OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell and Fei Fei Li, Stanford’s Human-Centered AI Institute co-director and former chief scientist for AI and machine learning at Google Cloud.

Several big tech CEOs are also on the board, including Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Lisa Su, CEO of AMD and IBM’s Arvind Krishna.

The board was created by Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas at the direction of President Biden.

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

“I am grateful that such accomplished leaders are dedicating their time and expertise to the board to help ensure our nation’s critical infrastructure, the vital services upon which Americans rely every day, effectively guards against the risks and realizes the enormous potential of this transformative technology.”

Related:Homeland Security Unveils AI Road Map, Pilot Programs

The board will convene for its inaugural meeting in early May, with quarterly meetings planned.

The board is expected to create recommendations for safe AI adoption and a forum for AI leaders to share information on risks with the infrastructure community at its initial meeting.

“The widespread use of AI has the potential to improve every aspect of our daily lives,” said Su. “It is critical that we work across the public and private sectors to adopt a collaborative and responsible approach that will ensure we harness the incredible power of AI for good.”

“I’m honored to join this group of interdisciplinary leaders to steward this world-changing technology responsibly and in a human-centered way,” said Li. “Ultimately AI is a tool, a potent tool, and it must be developed and applied with an understanding of how it will impact the individual, community, and society at large.”

The appointments were not without criticism. A major concern being raised is that the appointees prefer closed-source AI systems over open source alternatives

Hugging Face CEO and cofounder Clement Delangue said in a post on X (formerly Twitter) that the biggest risk of AI is “concentration of power and I doubt this board will help fight it.”

Related:White House Unveils Guidelines for Safe, Secure, Responsible AI Use

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Perplexity CEO Aravind Srinivas’ suggested Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg or the company’s chief scientist Yann LeCun should have been appointed.

François Fleuret, a computer science professor from the University of Geneva, agreed: “It is very strange that Yann LeCun is not in that list. Besides his expertise, it is under his impulsion that Meta became the only meaningful ‘force’ that democratizes large language models.

“Without the Llama models, we'd be on track for having ‘AIs’ in our lives entirely shaped by corporations.”

LeCun, a Turing Award winner, addressed the concerns in response to Srinivas’ tweet, simply saying, “We were snubbed.”

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AI Business has contacted Meta and the Department for Homeland Security for comment.

About the Author(s)

Ben Wodecki

Jr. Editor

Ben Wodecki is the Jr. Editor of AI Business, covering a wide range of AI content. Ben joined the team in March 2021 as assistant editor and was promoted to Jr. Editor. He has written for The New Statesman, Intellectual Property Magazine, and The Telegraph India, among others. He holds an MSc in Digital Journalism from Middlesex University.

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