Microsoft Lays Off An Ethical AI Team As It Doubles Down On OpenAI

An entire team at Microsoft was responsible for directing AI innovation toward moral, responsible, and sustainable outcomes. According to Platformer, a recent round of layoffs that impacted 10,000 employees throughout the organization included dissolving the ethics and social unit.

Microsoft has recently redesigned its Bing search engine and Edge web browser to be powered by a new, next-generation languages model that is more potent than ChatGPT and tailored specifically for search. At the same time the team is being eliminated, Microsoft is investing billions more dollars in its collaboration with OpenAI, the venture behind the art- and message AI systems like ChatGPT and DALL-E 2.

At a time when the business is making its contentious AI capabilities accessible to the general public, the decision puts into question Microsoft’s dedication to making sure that its product design and AI concepts are closely connected.

The Microsoft Office of Responsible AI (ORA), which develops standards for responsible AI through supervision and advocacy for public policy, is still in operation. Staff members told platformer that it was the ethics and society team’s responsibility to see that Microsoft’s ethical AI ideals were applied to developing products that were shipped. The group had recently concentrated on detecting risks caused by Microsoft’s deployment of OpenAI technology across various products.

The ethics and society team wasn’t particularly big; after a restructuring in October, only roughly seven members were left. Platformer’s sources claimed that CEO Satya Nadella and chief technology officer Kevin Scott were under increasing pressure to deliver the most recent OpenAI models and the following versions to customers as soon as feasible.

After last year’s reorganisation, most of the ethics and society team members were moved to other teams. John Montgomery, corporate vice president of AI, informed the remaining candidates that they would be fired on March 6. Team members told Platformer they thought they were fired because Microsoft had shifted its attention away from long-term, socially responsible thinking and toward shipping its AI products ahead of the competition.

Organizations like Microsoft’s ethics and society division frequently exert control over major digital companies by highlighting potential social or legal repercussions. Microsoft got adamant about stealing market share from Google’s search engine, so it might not want to hear “No” anymore. According to the business, every 1% of the market share it could wrest away from Google would generate $2 billion in yearly revenue.

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