DHS launches AI safety board but big open-source names absent

April 29, 2024

  • US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launched its Artificial Intelligence Safety and Security Board
  • The board aims to promote the safe and secure use of AI in critical US infrastructure
  • The board members include Big Tech CEOs but advocates of open-source AI are notably absent

United States Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced that the DHS had established an Artificial Intelligence Safety and Security Board to promote the safe and secure use of AI in critical US infrastructure.

Mayorkas established the board as directed by President Biden’s Executive Order (EO), “Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence,” signed in October last year.

The board is tasked with developing recommendations on how critical infrastructure stakeholders, like pipeline and power grid operators, and transportation and internet service providers leverage AI technologies responsibly.

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

The DHS says the board will help it “stay ahead of evolving threats posed by hostile nation-state actors.”

In its Threat Assessment of 2024, the DHS warned that nation-states like China, Russia, and Iran could use AI-assisted tools to target US economic security and critical infrastructure.

The report noted that these technologies “have the potential to enable larger scale, faster, efficient, and more evasive cyber attacks—against targets, including pipelines, railways, and other US critical infrastructure.”

The new AI safety board is expected to help DHS stay ahead of these evolving threats.

Who’s on board?

The list of people sitting on the 22-member board reads like a who’s who of Big Tech, but the missing names offer a potential insight into how the US government feels about open-source AI.

Board members include CEOs like Sam Altman (OpenAI), Satya Nadella (Microsoft), Sundar Pichai (Alphabet), and Dario Amodei (Anthropic). The models that these companies have released are all proprietary, or closed models.

Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk are surprise omissions. Both men represent companies that advocate for AI models to be “open-source”.

Mayorkas told reporters he deliberately chose not to include “social media companies” to sit on the board. Was his decision influenced by their platforms or their open-source AI strategy?

The debate over risks associated with open-source models continues. Companies like the ironically named OpenAI have been accused of using AI fear-mongering to retain their hegemony by keeping their models closed.

Meta, xAI, and even French AI startup Mistral have released their LLMs as open weights models.

The absence of open-source representatives and the presence of several effective altruists hints at continued AI-doomsaying when the board meets for the first time this week.

Here’s the full list of board members:

  • Sam Altman, CEO, OpenAI;
  • Dario Amodei, CEO and Co-Founder, Anthropic;
  • Ed Bastian, CEO, Delta Air Lines;
  • Rumman Chowdhury, Ph.D., CEO, Humane Intelligence;
  • Alexandra Reeve Givens, President and CEO, Center for Democracy and Technology
  • Bruce Harrell, Mayor of Seattle, Washington; Chair, Technology and Innovation Committee, United States Conference of Mayors;
  • Damon Hewitt, President and Executive Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law;
  • Vicki Hollub, President and CEO, Occidental Petroleum;
  • Jensen Huang, President and CEO, NVIDIA;
  • Arvind Krishna, Chairman and CEO, IBM;
  • Fei-Fei Li, Ph.D., Co-Director, Stanford Human-centered Artificial Intelligence Institute;
  • Wes Moore, Governor of Maryland;
  • Satya Nadella, Chairman and CEO, Microsoft;
  • Shantanu Narayen, Chair and CEO, Adobe;
  • Sundar Pichai, CEO, Alphabet;
  • Arati Prabhakar, Ph.D., Assistant to the President for Science and Technology; Director, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy;
  • Chuck Robbins, Chair and CEO, Cisco; Chair, Business Roundtable;
  • Adam Selipsky, CEO, Amazon Web Services;
  • Dr. Lisa Su, Chair and CEO, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD);
  • Nicol Turner Lee, Ph.D., Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Technology Innovation, Brookings Institution;
  • Kathy Warden, Chair, CEO and President, Northrop Grumman; and
  • Maya Wiley, President and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

Join The Future


Clear, concise, comprehensive. Get a grip on AI developments with DailyAI

Eugene van der Watt

Eugene comes from an electronic engineering background and loves all things tech. When he takes a break from consuming AI news you'll find him at the snooker table.


Stay Ahead with DailyAI

Sign up for our weekly newsletter and receive exclusive access to DailyAI's Latest eBook: 'Mastering AI Tools: Your 2024 Guide to Enhanced Productivity'.

*By subscribing to our newsletter you accept our Privacy Policy and our Terms and Conditions