Microsoft has laid off its entire ethics and society team, which was responsible for guiding AI innovation to ensure ethical, responsible, and sustainable outcomes, according to Platformer. The move comes as part of a larger layoff affecting 10,000 employees across the company, raising concerns about Microsoft’s commitment to responsible AI development. According to current and former employees cited by Platformer, Microsoft’s recent decision has left the company without a dedicated team to ensure its AI principles are integrated into product design. This has raised questions about Microsoft’s commitment to responsible AI development and its prioritization of ethical considerations. The move has led to concerns about the tech giant’s ability to uphold its values and principles in AI development without a specialized team. The mass layoff comes despite the company’s investment of billions into a partnership with OpenAI, the developer of widely popular AI-powered chatbots ChatGPT and DALL-E 2. Microsoft has already incorporated ChatGPT into its Bing search engine. Additionally, Microsoft is planning to integrate a new, next-generation large language model into its Edge browser, that is “more powerful than ChatGPT and customized specifically for search.”
“People would look at the principles coming out of the office of responsible AI and say, ‘I don’t know how this applies,’ our job was to show them and to create rules in areas where there were none,” said a former employee.