The White House launched a two-year competition the week that will award millions of dollars in prize money to teams that develop artificial intelligence tools that can be used to protect critical U.S. computer code.
“This competition, which will feature almost $20 million in prizes, will drive the creation of new technologies to rapidly improve the security of computer code, one of cybersecurity’s most pressing challenges,” the White House said Wednesday. “It marks the latest step by the Biden-Harris Administration to ensure the responsible advancement of emerging technologies and protect Americans.”
The AI Cyber Challenge will be hosted by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and will let AI development teams show the agency early next year how their AI-powered tools can protect U.S. code that “helps run the internet and other critical infrastructure.” The top 20 teams will compete at the DEF CON 2024 cybersecurity conference, and the top five teams will win money and advance to the final round at DEF CON 2025.
“The top three scoring competitors in the final competition will receive additional monetary prizes,” the White House said.
Competitors will be helped along by four companies that have worked with the White House in recent weeks on AI policy. Anthropic, Google, Microsoft and OpenAI, which agreed with other companies last month on a set of voluntary AI principles promoted by the White House, will give competitors access to their technology to meet the demands of the competition.
“The top competitors will make a meaningful difference in cybersecurity for America and the world,” the White House said. “The Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF), a project of the Linux Foundation, will serve as a challenge advisor. It will also help ensure that the winning software code is put to use right away protecting America’s most vital software and keeping the American people safe.”
The competition is one of several steps the Biden administration has taken to influence the development of AI technology. The commitment it secured in July with seven AI developers is aimed at ensuring “safer, more secure and more transparent” AI guidelines.
It said Wednesday that the independent evaluation of AI-driven large language models developed by the companies would start this week and added that administration officials are developing an executive order on AI and keep pushing for legislation in Congress to regulate AI development.
Congress has fallen short of passing a broad, comprehensive AI regulatory framework, despite months of effort from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. Schumer said this year that he still plans on holding listening sessions in the fall to help shape an AI bill.