Microsoft to keep working with US military, despite concerns

“We want the people of this country and especially the people who serve this country to know that we at Microsoft have their back,” President Brad Smith wrote in a blog post Friday

Microsoft has announced plans to sell artificial intelligence to the USA military, along with any other technology they need "to build a strong defence".

Microsoft president Brad Smith agrees. We also respect the fact that some employees work in or may be citizens of other countries, and they may not want to work on certain projects.

Officials at Microsoft, Amazon and Oracle this week maintained their decisions to work with the USA military, despite backlash from employees who have expressed concern that technology, such as artificial intelligence, could be weaponized by the Pentagon to kill people. "They will have access to the best technology that we create".

Oracle CEO Mark Hurd on cyber security, the impact of AI, the change in how the company reports quarterly results, cloud computing and the company's defense contracts. "We are going to continue to support the Department of Defense, and I think we should". "As is always the case, if our employees want to work on a different project or team - for whatever reason - we want them to know we support talent mobility". Microsoft isn't the only tech giant to forge ahead with military contracts, regardless of the controversies they evoke.

Smith's letter followed an October 12 "Open Letter to Microsoft" purportedly signed by an unspecified number of Microsoft employees.

'The Google workers who protested these collaborations and forced the company to take action saw this. In the post, which Medium said was verified by its editorial staff, the purported employees argued against bidding on the JEDI contract because the company might not have control over how its algorithms are used to fight wars.

Earlier this month, Google said it was dropping its JEDI bid in part because "we couldn't be assured that it would align with our AI principles" unveiled this year.

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Microsoft should adhere to its own recent publication, The Future Computed, that laid out ethical guidelines for building artificial intelligence, the letter stated.

Amazon was widely viewed among Pentagon officials and technology vendors as the front-runner for the contract, known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud, or JEDI.

That the Pentagon could trust housing its digital data with Google would have been helpful to its marketing efforts with large companies.

"But we can't expect these new developments to be addressed wisely if the people in the tech sector who know the most about technology withdraw from the conversation", Smith wrote.

'We will continue to pursue strategic work to help state, local and federal customers modernize their infrastructure and meet their mission critical requirements'.

Microsoft decision, which the Times said was announced in a small town-hall style company meeting on Thursday, contrasts sharply with the decision of its rival Google, which has said it will not sell technology to the government that can be used in weapons.

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