Former NSA Chief Paul Nakasone Joins OpenAI Board


Retired Gen. Paul Nakasone, former head of the National Security Agency, has joined OpenAI’s board of directors, the AI company announced on Thursday. He will also serve on the board’s “security and safety” subcommittee.

Nakasone’s addition seems aimed at addressing concerns that OpenAI is advancing too quickly without sufficient risk evaluation or security measures. With decades of experience at the Army, U.S. Cyber Command, and the NSA, Nakasone’s expertise is expected to bolster OpenAI’s credibility and provide valuable insights, particularly as the company expands its role as an AI provider to the tech industry, government, defense, and major enterprises.

“OpenAI’s dedication to its mission aligns closely with my own values and experience in public service,” Nakasone said in a press release.

The move comes at a time when both Nakasone and OpenAI have faced scrutiny for their data practices. The NSA has defended purchasing data of questionable provenance for surveillance, while OpenAI has been criticized for using large amounts of internet data without permission.

OpenAI stated that Nakasone’s insights will help enhance AI’s role in strengthening cybersecurity, particularly for institutions like hospitals, schools, and financial institutions that are frequent targets of cyber attacks:

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. We believe AI has the potential to deliver significant benefits in this area for many institutions frequently targeted by cyber attacks like hospitals, schools, and financial institutions.

Nakasone will be part of the safety and security committee, tasked with making recommendations to the full Board on critical safety and security decisions. The exact operations of this committee remain unclear, especially as senior safety personnel have recently left the company and the committee is undergoing a 90-day evaluation of OpenAI’s processes and safeguards.

Devin Coldewey
Devin Coldewey
Devin Coldewey is a Seattle-based writer and photographer. He first wrote for TechCrunch in 2007. Devin covers many topics in technology, science, and space. In the past, he has written for, NBC News, DPReview, and others. He has also appeared on radio, television, and in print.

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