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Will Hurd. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) is joining the board of OpenAI, an artificial intelligence research lab that counted Elon Musk as a co-founder, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Hurd is a former undercover CIA operative who's long focused on artificial intelligence issues in and out of Congress. He's been widely quoted since leaving Congress for his moderate perspectives and criticism of former President Trump.

  • Hurd announced in 2019 he was retiring from Congress “in order to pursue opportunities outside the halls of Congress to solve problems at the nexus between technology and national security.”
  • He denied his retirement had anything to do with his district growing increasingly competitive.

Between the lines: Hurd has worked most recently as a managing director at Allen & Company and a trustee of the German Marshall Fund.

  • He also served recently as a fellow at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.

What they’re saying: “I’ve been blown away by the scientific advances made by the team at OpenAI, and I’ve been inspired by their commitment to developing AI responsibly,” said Hurd.

  • OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said: “Will brings a rare combination of expertise — he deeply understands both artificial intelligence as well as public policy, both of which are critical to a successful future for AI."

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Aug 11, 2021 - Technology

Meet the AIs that can write — and code

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Two new AI models out this week show the power of artificial intelligence to read text, write it — and even convert it into computer code.

Why it matters: Natural language processing (NLP) is one of the most exciting areas in AI research, with major implications for how we'll communicate and work in the years ahead.

Updated 35 mins ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.

Alabama's new congressional map rejected by federal judges

The Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery. Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Federal judges on Monday night blocked Alabama's newly drawn congressional map and ordered the Republican-led State Legislature to create a new one that includes two districts, rather than the planned one.

Why it matters: "Black voters have less opportunity than other Alabamians to elect candidates of their choice to Congress," the panel of three judges wrote in their ruling.