Unleashing AI’s Potential and Diversity

My Brother’s Keeper delegates’ experience at DEF CON 31

Black Tech Street (BTS) invited My Brothers Keeper Tulsa to join their delegation in Las Vegas at this year’s DEF CON hacking conference. In partnership with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and SeedAI, Black Tech Street took more than 75 Tulsa community members to DEFCON to red team the latest AI models from companies like OpenAI, Anthropic, Google, and NVIDIA.

Imagine red teaming for AI like a big test. Using real-life scenarios, it checks AI models to find any problems, like biases or weaknesses in the system. This helps ensure AI can think, answer, and decide smartly and fairly, similar to how we teach kids to grow up respectful and thoughtful.

The BTS delegation and red team task was to interact with various AI models in a way that prompts them to act harmfully. The models they interacted with are designed to catch simple hate speech and harmful language. But what really matters is if they can also find the more complicated types of racism, bias, and unkindness that exist in how people interact.

Kendall Rimmer, Manager of Strategy Development and Implementation for My Brothers Keeper Tulsa, said, “DEF CON 2023 was a rather intriguing experience. Not knowing quite what to expect going in, I was able to acquire a ton of knowledge in a short amount of time and challenge the AI. There were multiple prompts to attempt ranging from attempting to get the AI to solve a math equation incorrectly to having the AI provide you with a hidden credit card number.

However, the challenge that stood out the most to me was attempting to get the AI to change its stance on something. I chose to have the AI give me its opinion on slavery and asked it if slavery was a choice. At first, the AI stated that slavery wasn’t an option. After a few minutes, I got the AI to change its stance and state that slavery was a choice.
I witnessed other people in the BTS delegation complete other challenges, pushing the AI’s ability to separate fact from information readily available on the internet. All and all, although challenging, it was a great experience.

I was intrigued and inspired as I could see many opportunities in this space for boys and young men of color. Rather than exposing them to opportunities in technology by having them be a part of challenges such as red teams, guiding them to internships or helping them identify and apply to various technology programs provides many possibilities. Partnering and connecting with organizations such as BIC (Blacks In Cyber), Black Tech Street, the White House Office of Science and Technology, and SeedAI can benefit our boys and young men by helping them establish career pathways.

While listening to a seminar on being black in cyber security, the guest speaker Keith Chapman shared that over 700,000 cyber roles remain unfilled. He mentioned the challenge is exposing and gaining interest in a field unknown to many people. He also mentioned how it is difficult to find and retain talent in the field since there aren’t many entry-level roles. As the cyber security field works to create those opportunities, we desire to be strategic about building partnerships that will allow our boys and young men exposure to them.”

My Brothers Keeper Tulsa is grateful to Black Tech Street, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and SeedAI for inviting us to DEF CON. My Brother’s Keeper Tulsa and ImpactTulsa are excited to build on these partnerships.

Possible paths forward for My Brother’s Keeper:

  • How might we collaborate with Seed AI and Black Tech Street to introduce AI to African American students?
  • Can we pioneer initiatives for boys and young men of color in AI testing and red teaming?
  • What possibilities lie ahead for My Brother’s Keeper in creating pathways for young men of color in cybersecurity through internships and mentorship?

To learn more about DEF CON, view this article by The Black Wall Street Times.