OpenAI, the leading artificial intelligence research organization, has announced the launch of a grant program aimed at funding experiments in establishing a democratic process for determining the rules that AI systems should adhere to, while staying within legal boundaries. The program will award ten grants of $100,000 each to individuals, teams, and organizations that propose innovative concepts for a democratic decision-making process in AI governance.
The initiative follows OpenAI’s recent call for an international regulatory body overseeing AI, citing the rapid pace of AI innovation and the need for comprehensive governance. The grant program seeks to develop proof-of-concepts for democratic processes that can address critical questions about AI guardrails. OpenAI aims to learn from these experiments and utilize them as the foundation for a more global and ambitious process in the future.
While the initial experiments funded by the grants may not have binding implications, OpenAI hopes they will explore decision-relevant questions and develop novel democratic tools that can directly inform future AI decisions. The organization envisions a transparent decision-making process that involves diverse perspectives, deliberate discussions, and the representation of disputed views in AI outputs.
OpenAI emphasizes that the grant program is focused on promoting innovation in democratic methods for governing AI behavior and shaping AI to align with the public interest. The organization encourages broad participation and exchange of opinions, aiming to address ethical dilemmas, such as how AI systems should criticize public figures and represent conflicting viewpoints.
The grant application process is now open and will conclude on June 24, 9 p.m. PDT. OpenAI plans to select ten recipients who will be required to conduct experiments involving at least 500 participants, publish a public report on their findings by October 20, and release the underlying code as open source.
While some skeptics question the program’s motivations in relation to OpenAI’s commercial interests, the grant initiative represents an intriguing approach to AI policymaking. The results and ideas generated through this program have the potential to contribute to the ongoing discussions around AI governance and democratizing decision-making processes in the field.