Microsoft got rid of its entire company division devoted to AI “ethics and society” during its January layoffs, according to a report from Platformer.
Though the company still has an office of responsible AI, it was the job of the ethics and society staff to address how AI technology is likely to impact human society in context and communicate with product teams accordingly.
“People would look at the principles coming out of the office of responsible AI and say, ‘I don’t know how this applies,'” one former ethicist told Platformer. “Our job was to show them and to create rules in areas where there were none.”
But now, as Microsoft races to jam OpenAI software into seemingly every product that it can, the ethics and society department is gone — a telling sign that Microsoft is more focused on profitability and getting AI-driven products to market than ensuring that those products remain a positive force for society as a whole.
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