The wave of layoffs in the technology industry has left even professionals related to the world of artificial intelligence on the street. In early January, it became known that Microsoft was carrying out job cuts affecting more than 10,000 workers in the company. Now, thanks to an article by Platformer, it has become known that the AI Ethics and Society team was part of this downsizing carried out by Microsoft.
At a time when AI development is in full swing and Microsoft itself is playing an important role after its billion-dollar investment in OpenAI, the parents of ChatGPT, the Redmond company would be left without a department devoted exclusively to ensuring compliance with moral principles when developing new artificial intelligences.
For the time being, Microsoft’s Office of Accountable AI, which is responsible for creating policies and principles to govern all of the company’s AI initiatives, remains active. Despite this downsizing, Microsoft says it is increasing its investment in technical accountability issues.
“Microsoft is committed to developing AI products and experiences in a safe and responsible way, and does so by investing in people, processes and partnerships that prioritize this,” the company said in a statement on its website.
“Over the past six years we have increased the number of people across our product teams and within the Office of Responsible AI who, along with all of us at Microsoft, are responsible for ensuring that we put our AI principles into practice. We appreciate the pioneering work that Ethics and Society has done to help us on our path to responsible AI,” Microsoft says.
The team spent the past few months helping designers foresee the potential harms that could result from AIs and discuss them during product development, as well as identifying the risks posed by adopting OpenAI technology across Microsoft’s range of products, such as its Bing browser or Azure cloud services.