Microsoft and OpenAI launch Societal Resilience Fund

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Today, Microsoft and OpenAI are announcing the launch of a $2 million Societal Resilience Fund to further AI education and literacy among voters and vulnerable communities. In a year when two billion people across the globe will vote in democratic elections, it is more important than ever to provide tools and information that will help people navigate an increasingly complex digital ecosystem and find authoritative resources.

Grants delivered from the fund will help several organizations, including Older Adults Technology Services from AARP (OATS), the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity (C2PA), International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) and Partnership on AI (PAI) to deliver AI education and support their work to create better understanding of AI capabilities. Together, we will promote whole-of-society resilience against the use of deceptive AI content.

The Societal Resilience Fund is a joint effort that follows through on public commitments that Microsoft and OpenAI have made via the White House Voluntary Commitments, and the Tech Accord to Combat Deceptive Use of AI in the 2024 Elections, in which we have committed to engage with a diverse set of global civil society organizations and academics and committed to support efforts to foster public awareness and all-of-society resilience. Our shared goals are to combat the growing risk of bad actors using AI and deepfakes to deceive the voters and undermine democracy.

Here is how some of our featured partners intend to use their grants:

  • Older Adults Technology Services from AARP (OATS) will develop and deploy a training program focused on educating American adults 50-plus on foundational aspects of AI. This program will include in person as well as virtual trainings, access to guides designed specifically for this population, as well as special programs focused on supporting older Americans as they navigate a fast-changing and AI enhanced world.

“As AI tools become part of everyday life, it is essential that older adults learn more about the risks and opportunities that are emerging.  We are pleased to work with Microsoft and OpenAI on this vital project to make sure that older adults 50+ have access to training, information, and support—both to enhance their lives with new technology, and to protect themselves against its misuse.” – Tom Kamber, Executive Director, OATS from AARP

  • The Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity (C2PA) will launch an educational campaign aimed at providing clarity and awareness of the current landscape of digital disclosure methods and best practices. This campaign will create and distribute materials that explain what options currently exist, such as content provenance and watermarking, how they interact with and complement each other, and how end users should anticipate eventually engaging with these indicators. This effort will also seek to explain and drive awareness of the availability of content credentials.

“The C2PA is excited to partner on this critical step in elevating awareness of content provenance and promoting a healthy digital media ecosystem. This campaign is being built to inform and empower people so they can make informed decisions and navigate an increasingly complex digital world.” – Ray Lansigan, Marketing & Communications Chair, C2PA

  • International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) will conduct global trainings to help foster public awareness and all-of-society electoral resilience to AI. The project will focus on empowering Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs), civil society, and media actors through training and dialogue. The goal is to equip these groups with the necessary skills and understanding to navigate the opportunities and challenges presented by AI.

“Electoral Management Bodies, media, and civil society play a critical role in protecting and preserving democratic institutions. We look forward to working with these communities around the world to enhance their awareness and understanding of AI and how it will impact the vital work that they do.” – Alberto Fernandez Gibaja, Program Head for Digitalization and Democracy at International IDEA

  • Partnership on AI (PAI) will build on and enhance its groundbreaking Synthetic Media Framework. This framework was established to provide transparency about generative AI to audiences, to set best practice guardrails for safe and responsible AI development, and to widen the diversity of voices charting the future of AI innovation. This effort will support the AI and Media Integrity Program by updating and refining the Synthetic Media Framework, collecting use cases, and helping the field improve policies and practices for responsible synthetic media, including emergent mitigations.

“By bringing together diverse stakeholders who are creating, using, and distributing synthetic media, Partnership on AI aims to advance knowledge, action and transparency on the responsible use of AI. We look forward to our continued partnership with OpenAI and Microsoft and promoting accountability so that AI advances benefit people and society.” – Rebecca Finlay, CEO, Partnership on AI

The launch of the Societal Resilience Fund is just one step that represents Microsoft and OpenAI’s commitment to address the challenges and needs in the AI literacy and education space. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will be convening members of civil society and industry, including executives from OpenAI and Microsoft, tomorrow (May 8th, 2024) to discuss the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Microsoft and OpenAI will remain dedicated to this work, and we will continue to collaborate with organizations and initiatives that share our goals and values.

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