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Microsoft Fires Ethical AI Team Despite Push for OpenAI Integration

Mar. 14, 2023.
1 min. read 3 Interactions

Microsoft axes ethical AI team, doubles down on OpenAI. But what does it mean for responsible AI principles?

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Lewis Farrell

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Highly curious about things that increase my awareness, expand my perception, and make me open to being a better person.

Microsoft’s recent decision to lay off its ethics and society team, which is responsible for ensuring AI innovation results in ethical, responsible, and sustainable outcomes, raises questions about the company’s commitment to responsible AI principles. The move comes as Microsoft invests billions of dollars in its partnership with OpenAI, as well as redesigning its Bing search engine and Edge web browser. The team was in charge of ensuring that Microsoft’s responsible AI principles were reflected in the design of its products, but its demise suggests that the company is more concerned with getting its AI products to market first and less concerned with long-term, socially responsible thinking. The team had recently been working to identify the risks posed by Microsoft’s integration of OpenAI’s technology across its product suite.

The elimination of the ethics and society team calls Microsoft’s commitment to responsible AI principles into question, even as it maintains its Office of Responsible AI, which sets rules for responsible AI through governance and public policy work. The move emphasizes the importance of companies prioritizing ethical AI principles and design. Failure to do so may have negative societal consequences as well as legal ramifications. Companies must strike a balance between the pursuit of technological innovation and responsible decision-making that considers the long-term impact on society.

Source: Tech Crunch (link)
Images: MidJourney, Prompts by Lewis Farrell

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One thought on “Microsoft Fires Ethical AI Team Despite Push for OpenAI Integration

  1. TechCrunch article says that the size of the team was 7 people and little about its operational structure. My purpose is not to belittle the critical importance of ethics in big tech AI development but this feels more or less a PR mistake from Microsoft.
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