UPDATED 21:12 EDT / JUNE 13 2024


Former NSA Director Paul Nakasone joins OpenAI board

Paul M. Nakasone, a retired general of the U.S. Army and a former director of the National Security Agency, NSA, has just been added to OpenAI’s board of directors, it was reported today.

Nakasone stepped down as NSA director earlier this year after becoming head under the Trump administration. He also served as leader of the U.S. Cyber Command and was chief of the Central Security Service.

“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,” OpenAI said in a blog post today. His initial responsibilities will include joining the Board’s Safety and Security Committee, where he’ll make “critical safety and security decisions for all OpenAI projects and operations,” according to the post.

As a board member, he joins Quora Inc. Chief Executive dam D’Angelo, technology entrepreneur Tasha McCauley;,Georgetown Center for Security and Emerging Technology’s Helen Toner, as well as Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellmann, former CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Nicole Seligman, former executive vice president and global general counsel of Sony Corp., and Fidji Simo, CEO and chair of Instacart. Also on the board are former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers, OpenAI Chairperson Bret Taylor and CEO Sam Altman.

OpenAI has recently seen some major departures in co-founder and former chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, who left amid disagreements over safety and development. Following him right out of the door was Jan Leike, head of the superalignment team, the team tasked with ensuring AI doesn’t become a threat to humanity.

Leike wrote on X soon after he left, “Safety culture and processes have taken a backseat to shiny products.” In interviews, he explained he’d become disillusioned with the company’s ability to take the threat of AI responsibly.

Chairperson Taylor said the former spy chief Nakasone might help in that regard. “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,” Taylor said in a statement. “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.”

Photo: Mariia Shalabaieva/Unsplash

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