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OpenAI offers $1M in grants for AI governance ideas

Should artificial intelligence (AI) systems criticize public figures? How should disputed views be represented in AI outputs? These are among the questions OpenAI is seeking answers to, and it’s set to issue $1 million to innovators who develop the solutions.

In a recent announcement, the ChatGPT maker revealed that it would issue 10 grants worth $100,000 each through its non-profit arm, Open AI, Inc.

The company is on a quest to democratize AI, make the technology as inclusive as possible, and reduce bias.

“We are seeking teams from across the world to develop proofs-of-concept for a democratic process that could answer questions about what rules AI systems should follow,” the company said.

The grants come at a time when AI regulation is at a critical turning point. After several months of calls to rein in the technology, regulators are making moves globally. Europe is the most advanced with its AI Act which is edging closer to being passed into law. Others, like New York, are aiming for specific facets, such as the technology’s use in hiring.

Sam Altman, the co-founder and CEO of OpenAI, has called on regulations for the rapidly-surging industry. He has appeared before the U.S. Congress and has been on a European tour to meet regulators and talk about AI policing.

However, while he claims to be pro-regulation, Altman has criticized regulators for “over-regulation.” He grabbed headlines when he reportedly claimed OpenAI would consider leaving Europe if the upcoming AI Act is enacted (he took back the claim later after widespread outrage).

With the grants, OpenAI is again toeing the line between welcoming regulations but only if they favor its agenda. It says in its blog post that it wants AI development to be a democratic process “in which a broadly representative group of people exchange opinions, engage in deliberative discussions, and ultimately decide on an outcome via a transparent decision-making process.”

While it will consider some of the winning proposals, OpenAI was clear that none of the recommendations would be binding. Applicants have until June 24 to submit their application.

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