Is Microsoft prioritizing AI dominance over responsible AI
AI tools are becoming more mainstream than ever. OpenAI's rise to popularity courtesy of ChatGPT and its partnership with Microsoft has pushed AI development into hyper speed. However, this has led to a new concern: Is fast-paced AI development a threat to responsible AI? Microsoft's decision to axe the ethics and society team within its AI organization has brought this issue into the limelight.
Why does this story matter?
- The introduction of ChatGPT and its subsequent success has resulted in a consensus that we are on the verge of an AI revolution.
- However, AI is far from perfect. We are still learning its potential and what it can do.
- The technology also poses potential risks, making it necessary that we ensure it adheres to a set of norms.
Microsoft has invested $11 billion in OpenAI
In the AI race, Microsoft is ahead of its rivals, at least for now. The company's GPT-powered Bing and revamped Edge browser have brought it back into the search game. The tech giant has invested $11 billion in OpenAI so far. An investment of that scale suggests that Microsoft does not want to wait around. It wants results, and it wants them quickly.
The ethics and society team had about 7 members
The company's decision to axe the ethics and society team comes amid the search for quick results. The eliminations are part of the mass layoffs that affected 10,000 employees of the company. Last year, the team was subject to a reorganization, where most members were transferred to other teams. After that, only around seven members were left in the team.
The team was crucial in implementing responsible AI policies
Per Platformer, the ethics and society team was responsible for ensuring Microsoft's AI products adhere to its responsible AI principles. The company said it still has its Office of Responsible AI (ORA). However, according to people that spoke to Platformer, the ethics and society team played a huge part in implementing responsible AI principles and possibilities.
Pressure is mounting on Microsoft employees to integrate OpenAI's products
Microsoft has recently been on a mission to integrate OpenAI's technology into its suite of products. Per Platformer, CEO Satya Nadella and CTO Kevin Scott have been putting a lot of pressure on employees for faster release of OpenAI models. The company wants to take advantage of its current position in the market, and it will stop at nothing to achieve that.
Microsoft may not want to hear 'no'
Teams like ethics and society are not loved by big tech companies. They are often responsible for saying "no" to these companies when some product can potentially cause societal or legal issues. Microsoft does not want to hear "no" now, especially when it is presented with the first chance in years to challenge Google's dominance. That possibly spelled the end for the team.