OpenAI unveils $1M cybersecurity grant program

June 3, 2023
Open AI cybersecurity

OpenAI announced the launch of its $1 million cybersecurity grant program, an initiative aiming to infuse cybersecurity with AI and promote discourse on the role of AI in cybersecurity.

The initiative is designed to achieve three key goals:

  • Empower defenders: OpenAI intends to equip defenders (organizations and services focused on protecting systems) with advanced AI capabilities. 
  • Measure impact: They intend to measure the effectiveness of AI on cybersecurity. 
  • Promote discourse: OpenAI intends to use the scheme to encourage debate around the interaction between AI and cybersecurity, including opportunities and challenges. 

OpenAI has proposed several project ideas, including collecting and labeling data to train cybersecurity agents, detecting and mitigating social engineering tactics, automated vulnerability patching, identifying security issues in source code, and assisting network or device forensics.

The $1 million grant will be issued in increments of $10,000 through API credits or direct funding. The company stated they’ll prioritize applications that are licensed and distributed for “maximal public benefit and sharing.”

OpenAI grants and initiatives 

This isn’t the first time OpenAI has offered substantial grants in exchange for public input. 

On May 25th, the company announced ten $100,000 grants for designing democratic processes that determine how AI systems should work. Such a system would democratize control over AI, enabling people from diverse backgrounds to vote on how it should work for them – and for society as a whole. 

Some example questions OpenAI is seeking answers for include:

  • “How far do you think personalization of AI assistants like ChatGPT to align with a user’s tastes and preferences should go? 
  • What boundaries, if any, should exist in this process?
  • How should AI assistants respond to questions about public figure viewpoints? E.g. Should they be neutral? Should they refuse to answer? Should they provide sources of some kind?
  • Under what conditions, if any, should AI assistants be allowed to provide medical/financial/legal advice?”

OpenAI is conscious of its role in shaping AI technology, and the CEO, Sam Altman, has been openly warning the public of the risks AI presents. 

The company’s willingness to invite public collaboration is admirable. However, agreeing on matters such as AI democratization will require close cooperation between OpenAI, Google, Anthropic, and other industry protagonists, which is an altogether different test.

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Sam Jeans

Sam is a science and technology writer who has worked in various AI startups. When he’s not writing, he can be found reading medical journals or digging through boxes of vinyl records.

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