tech2 News Staff Oct 29, 2018 13:52 PM IST
Microsoft plans to continue to provide its technology to the US military, despite worries that advances in the field of artificial intelligence could empower weapons to act autonomously and kill people.
The company laid out its reasoning on 26 October in a blog post by Brad Smith, Microsoft's president. He wrote that he and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella addressed employee concerns about Microsoft's military work in a regularly scheduled meeting on 25 October and conceded that some workers are still uneasy about it.
Recently, following Google's exit from a controversial US military Cloud project called Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI), an open letter claiming to be from an unspecified number of Microsoft employees had urged the company to also back out of the military project.
JEDI is a cloud computing contract aimed at bringing the entire military under the envelope of a single cloud provider.
"The contract is massive in scope and shrouded in secrecy, which makes it nearly impossible to know what we as workers would be building," the open letter titled "Microsoft, don't bid on JEDI" said on the Medium portal. It's apparently written by "Employees of Microsoft".
Microsoft has now said that it decided to go for this project because they want to keep supporting the Defense Department. "We want the people of this country and especially the people who serve this country to know that we at Microsoft have their backs. They will have access to the best technology that we create."
Smith says Microsoft will extend its more than 40-year relationship with the US Department of Defense because the company believes its home country should have a strong military with the best technology.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos made similar remarks last week at a conference in San Francisco.
On 9 October, Microsoft had written in a blog post that the company was going through a technology transformation that is unlocking new mission scenarios for government agencies that were simply not possible before.
With inputs from The Associated Press