Microsoft Lays off Its Entire Ethical AI Team While It Focuses Its Efforts on OpenAI
AI innovation and responsible outcomes are key areas of focus at Microsoft.
The company cut 10,000 employees across the company as part of a wave of layoffs.
Microsoft has recently made the decision to eliminate a team that was solely focused on promoting ethical and sustainable outcomes in the realm of AI innovation. As reported by Platformer, this team, known as the ethics and society group, was among the thousands of employees affected by the latest layoffs.
Microsoft has recently disbanded its team as it focuses on investing more money into its collaboration with OpenAI. OpenAI is a startup company that has developed advanced artificial intelligence systems such as ChatGPT and DALLE 2 for generating art and text. Furthermore, Microsoft is revamping its Bing search engine and Edge web browser by utilizing a new, next-generation language model that is customized especially for search and is even more potent than ChatGPT. These developments are highly exciting for the future of AI and search engine technology.
Microsoft’s decision to make its AI tools available to the masses has raised concerns about the company’s dedication to maintaining a close relationship between product design and AI principles.
Despite maintaining its Office of Responsible AI (ORA), Microsoft’s ethics and society team is responsible for ensuring that the company’s responsible AI principles are implemented in product design. This team has been actively working to identify potential risks associated with the integration of OpenAI’s technology into Microsoft’s product offerings.
After the October layoffs, the ethics and society team trimmed down, with just seven individuals left. According to sources who spoke with Platformer, there is mounting pressure from Kevin Scott, the chief technology officer, and Satya Nadella, the CEO, to provide customers with the latest OpenAI models and their subsequent iterations as soon as possible. This news has generated excitement among those involved.
Last year’s restructuring process resulted in the majority of the ethics and society team being relocated to different departments. However, on March 6, the Corporate Vice President of AI John Montgomery announced to the remaining members that they would be let go as well. According to the team, Microsoft’s emphasis on releasing its AI products ahead of its competitors led to less consideration for socially responsible and future-oriented thinking.
Excitingly, departments like Microsoft’s ethics and society team play a crucial role in holding large tech companies accountable for any potential legal or societal implications. In their quest to capture a larger market share from Google’s search engine, Microsoft was determined to succeed and didn’t want to hear any negative feedback. According to the company, every 1% of market share taken from Google would equate to a staggering $2 billion in annual revenue.
- Microsoft has released Visual ChatGPT, a revolutionary tool that uses AI to generate captions for images, making it easier for people with visual impairments to understand the content. It connects ChatGPT and a number of Visual Foundation Models to allow image sending and receiving while chatting.
- Researchers at Microsoft have proposed combining chatbot technology with other AI models to create a “universal assistant” capable of handling various tasks, such as natural language processing, image recognition, and multi-step processes. They combined ChatGPT with Visual Foundation Models like Visual Transformers and Stable Diffusion so that the chatbot could understand and generate images in addition to text. The research team’s primary goals are to make ChatGPT more “humanlike” and capable of handling complex tasks that require multiple steps.
- The announcement by Microsoft that it will share its ChatGPT chatbot technology with other organizations is a wise move that will help it become a market leader in the chatbot space. It will enable other organizations to build their own chatbots, allowing them to streamline operations and provide more accurate and up-to-date information to customers. This will help Microsoft maintain its market leadership and make chatbots as commonplace as Microsoft Word in the next ten years.
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