Microsoft Fired Their AI Ethics Team: Here’s Why You Should Be Worried

April 4, 2023

Microsoft’s recent decision to fire its Artificial Intelligence ethics team has raised concerns about the future of emerging technologies such as AI. Without ethical considerations, the development of AI could harm marginalized individuals and communities and present unprecedented issues. Microsoft firing their Artificial Intelligence ethics team is quite unusual for the company, with the company’s statement, “We are committed to making sure AI systems are developed responsibly and in ways that warrant people’s trust”. Them going back on their word like this will only foster distrust between the masses and the future of artificial intelligence. There is already a looming distrust considering the companies’ dark history with Artificial Intelligence and their previous Twitter chatbot, Tay, running rampant online and spreading hateful messages and giving bizarre responses. With the recent boom in Artificial Intelligence based technologies, such as ChatGPT-4, Dalle-2, and other many companies developing their own AI tools for their products, there seems to be no stop on the development of Artificial Intelligence technologies any time soon, as companies want to get in on this boom and ensure they have a market presence within the space. Prominent influences in the technology industry have openly spoken against the development of Artificial Intelligence and its fast-tracked development and have expressed skepticism about the development of AI. CEOs such as Tesla’s Elon Musk and Stability AI Emad Mostaque are calling for a six-month pause on the development of artificial intelligence. Their request, calls for AI companies to create and implement a standardized set of safety protocols and ethics for AI development. Microsoft’s decision to fire its AI ethics team is a troubling sign of the company’s disregard for the social and moral implications of its AI products. Without a dedicated team to ensure that its AI principles are closely tied to product design, Microsoft risks creating AI tools that could harm marginalized individuals and communities, spread misinformation, and bias, and pose ethical dilemmas. Moreover, Microsoft’s move could set a dangerous precedent for other AI companies that may follow suit and prioritize profits over responsibility. As consumers and citizens, we must demand that Microsoft and other AI companies uphold high standards of ethical and responsible AI development. The future of AI is in our hands, and we must act now before it is too late.

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