OpenAI official meets with the USAID administrator

Samantha Power’s meeting with OpenAI’s Anna Makanju comes amid continued investments and interest from the international development agency in the technology.
USAID Administrator Samantha Power speaks during the Summit for Democracy on March 30, 2023, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

USAID Administrator Samantha Power met this week with OpenAI’s head of global affairs, according to an agency press release, a move that comes as the international development organization continues to invest in artificial intelligence while also raising concerns about the technology’s privacy, security, bias, and risks.

The Monday meeting with OpenAI’s Anna Makanju focused on artificial intelligence’s impact on global development, the release stated. Topics included “advancing progress in key sectors like global health and food security, preventing the misuse of AI, and strengthening information integrity and resilience in USAID partner countries.” 

The announcement comes as several federal agencies, including NASA and the Department of Homeland Security, experiment with OpenAI’s technology. USAID is also prioritizing looking at artificial intelligence use cases and is in the midst of developing a playbook for AI in global development. 

“Administrator Power and Vice President Makanju also discussed USAID’s commitment to localization, and the potential for generative AI and other AI tools to support burden reduction for USAID implementing partners – in particular, burdens that disproportionately impact local organizations,” the agency said.


Meanwhile, OpenAI appears to be continuing to look for ways to work with U.S. federal agencies. Makanju, for her part, has previously said that government use of OpenAI tools is a goal for the company. At a conference hosted by the Semafor in April, she said she was “bullish” on government use of the technology because of its role in providing services to people. 

Rebecca Heilweil

Written by Rebecca Heilweil

Rebecca Heilweil is an investigative reporter for FedScoop. She writes about the intersection of government, tech policy, and emerging technologies. Previously she was a reporter at Vox's tech site, Recode. She’s also written for Slate, Wired, the Wall Street Journal, and other publications. You can reach her at Message her if you’d like to chat on Signal.

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