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White House Announced Competition For Developing AI System To Guard Against Hackers

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The White House announced a competition for designing new artificial intelligence systems on Wednesday, with millions of dollars as prize money, to protect important software from hackers.

Biden’s administration said competitors will be contesting for the $18.5 million prize money that will be required to create AI systems able to instantly identify and fix software vulnerabilities in electric grids, subways, or other key networks that are prone to be exploited by hackers.

In a briefing, Arati Prabhakar, the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said, “This competition will be a clarion call for all kinds of creative people in organizations to bolster the security of critical software that American families and businesses and all of our society rely on.”

According to the White House,  the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) which will be hosting the competition to increase participation has decided to fund $7 million into small businesses that wish to compete.

Arati Prabhakar said DARPA is in partnership with Anthropic, Google, Microsoft, and ChatGPT-maker OpenAI to provide the expertise and technology needed for the competition.

In the press briefing, Anne Neuberger, Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology, said the competition is aiming to “bring together diverse thinkers from all across the nation to think about how we can use AI to dramatically improve cybersecurity.”

The competition was declared at a cyber security conference in Las Vegas before the Def Con gathering, a hacker convention held annually in Las Vegas, takes place on Friday, where hackers will try to break into various AI systems.

Prabhakar said, “We’ll have thousands of people over two and a half days red teaming leading AI models to see how they stack up.”

A tech industry reference, Red Teaming will test the systems by hacking into them just like hackers do.

“In cybersecurity, there’s always a race between offense and defense,” Neuberger said. “We see the promise of AI in enabling defense to be one step ahead.”

Last month at a White House meeting, Joe Biden pointed at AI’s “enormous” risk and pledged to tech leaders last month who committed to guarding against everything from cyber-attacks to fraud as the sector revolutionizes society.

Collaborating with top companies in the tech industry like Amazon, Anthropic, Google, Inflection, Meta, Microsoft, and OpenAI, President Biden stated the companies have promised to “guide responsible innovation” as AI digs deep into private and business life.

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