Microsoft fires ethics team17. March 2023
Microsoft fires ethics team
San Francisco, 3/17/2023
Microsoft also fired its AI unit’s ethics and community team as part of the company-wide layoffs announced in January. At the time, Microsoft announced it would lay off 10,000 employees by March 31, or about 4.5% of the total workforce.
The team helped ensure Microsoft products and services were designed to accurately reflect AI principles before these tools are released to the public.
According to TechCrunch, team members recently investigated the risks posed by OpenAI technology like ChatGPT as this technology is being integrated into Microsoft’s suite of products.
The company’s management explained the expulsion by saying that Microsoft will continue to work to ensure that “AI products and experiences are developed and designed safely and responsibly”. Investment in AI has evolved, which is why adjustments to team structures have become necessary.
Microsoft said it has also expanded the scope of its separate Office of Responsible AI, which develops its AI principles and rules. This office provides “cross-company support for things like reviewing sensitive use cases and advocating policies to protect customers.”
However, a former member of the Ethics and Society team said her colleagues do not always know how to apply the principles that still apply. “Our job was to enlighten them and create rules in areas where there weren’t any.”