OpenAI Appoints Former Head Of US Cyber Command To Its Board

OpenAI artificial intelligence ChatGPT

Bolstering security and safety. Retired US Army General Paul M. Nakasone appointed to OpenAI’s board of directors

OpenAI last week appointed a senior military figure in the United States to its board of directors, in order to help better protect ChatGPT from cyberthreats and improve AI safety.

The AI pioneer announced the appointment of retired US Army General Paul M. Nakasone, who was pivotal in the creation of US Cyber Command and was its longest-serving commander. General Nakasone was also the director of the National Security Agency (NSA) before he retired in February 2024.

Besides joining OpenAI’s Board, General Nakasone is also to join the Board’s Safety and Security Committee as a “first priority.” OpenAI had created its safety committee only last month.

ChatGPT Image credit Go to ilgmyzin's profile ilgmyzin Unsplash
Image credit: Ilgmyzin/Unsplash

Safety and Security Committee

OpenAI’s creation of the Board’s Safety and Security Committee last month to oversee safety of ‘superintelligent’ AIs, came after the firm had disbanded its ‘superalignment’ team, amidst criticism of its priorities.

The new Safety and Security Committee is led by board members including chief executive Sam Altman, chairman Bret Taylor and four OpenAI technical and policy experts, as well as board members Adam D’Angelo, the chief executive of Quora, and former Sony general counsel Nicole Seligman.

It consults with outside experts including former US National Security Agency cybersecurity director Rob Joyce and former Justice Department official John Carlin.

It had succeeded OpenAI “superalignment” team, the group that previously oversaw AI safety, that had been formed in July of last year.

But OpenAI disbanded the superalignment team in May 2024 after the researchers who led it, Jan Leike and Ilya Sutskever, left the company, with Leike criticising OpenAI for allowing safety to “take a backseat to shiny products”.

General Nakasone

Now OpenAI is opting to add a heavyweight player in the cybersecurity industry to its safety committee.

General Nakasone’s appointment reflects OpenAI’s commitment to safety and security, and underscores the growing significance of cybersecurity as the impact of AI technology continues to grow, OpenAI stated.

The firm added that “the security of OpenAI’s systems – from protecting the large AI training supercomputers we operate to securing our sensitive model weights and the data entrusted to us by customers – is central to achieving our mission.”

“As AI technology becomes more capable on the path to artificial general intelligence (AGI), we are becoming more resilient to increasingly sophisticated cyber security threats over time,” it stated, before adding that General Nakasone’s insights will also contribute to it’s efforts to better understand how AI can be used to strengthen cybersecurity by quickly detecting and responding to cybersecurity threats.

“Artificial Intelligence has the potential to have huge positive impacts on people’s lives, but it can only meet this potential if these innovations are securely built and deployed,“ said Bret Taylor, Chair of OpenAI’s Board. “General Nakasone’s unparalleled experience in areas like cybersecurity will help guide OpenAI in achieving its mission of ensuring artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity.”

“OpenAI’s dedication to its mission aligns closely with my own values and experience in public service,” said General Nakasone. “I look forward to contributing to OpenAI’s efforts to ensure artificial general intelligence is safe and beneficial to people around the world.”