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OpenAI Adds Former NSA Director To Its Board

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OpenAI has expanded its leadership team by welcoming Paul M. Nakasone, a retired US Army general and former director of the National Security Agency, as its latest board member.

The organization highlighted Nakasone’s role on its blog, stating, “Mr. 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.”

The inclusion of Nakasone on OpenAI’s board is a decision that warrants a critical examination and will likely raise eyebrows. Nakasone’s extensive background in cybersecurity, including his leadership roles in the US Cyber Command and the Central Security Service, undoubtedly brings a wealth of experience and expertise to OpenAI. However, his association with the NSA, an agency often scrutinized for its surveillance practices and controversial data collection methods, raises important questions about the implications of such an appointment as the company’s product ChatGPT is, through a deal with Apple, about to be available on every iPhone. The company is also already tightly integrated into Microsoft software.

Firstly, while Nakasone’s cybersecurity acumen is an asset, it also introduces potential concerns about privacy and the ethical use of AI. The NSA’s history of mass surveillance, highlighted by the revelations of Edward Snowden, has left a lasting impression on the public’s perception of government involvement in data security and privacy.

By aligning itself with a figure so closely associated with the NSA, OpenAI might raise concerns about a shift towards a more surveillance-oriented approach to cybersecurity, which could be at odds with the broader tech community’s push for greater transparency and ethical standards in AI development.

Secondly, Nakasone’s appointment could raise doubts about the direction of OpenAI’s policies and practices, particularly those related to cybersecurity and data handling.

Nakasone’s role on the newly established Safety and Security Committee, which will conduct a 90-day review of OpenAI’s processes and safeguards, places him in a position of significant influence. This committee’s recommendations will likely shape OpenAI’s future policies, potentially steering the company towards practices that reflect Nakasone’s NSA-influenced perspective on cybersecurity.

Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, has become a controversial figure in the tech industry, not least due to his involvement in the development and promotion of eyeball-scanning digital ID technology. This technology, primarily associated with Worldcoin, a cryptocurrency project co-founded by Altman, has sparked significant debate and criticism for several reasons.

The core concept of eyeball scanning technology is inherently invasive. Worldcoin’s approach involves using a device called the Orb to scan individuals’ irises to create a unique digital identifier.

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