MICROSOFT HAS issued a defence to criticism of its ongoing relationship with the US military, assuring that it "has the country's back".
Brad Smith, president and head of legal at Microsoft, has said that the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract - which was eventually rejected by Google's Alphabet - is the exact sort of thing that Microsoft was committed to continuing, despite the fact that some of its staff might not agree.
The Wall Street Journal reports that following ongoing pressure from staff, who are questioning if this is really the sort of thing that Microsoft should be doing, as well as whether the line should really include AI, facial recognition and weapons targeting has been ongoing, has forced Smith to reassure employees, alongside CEO Satya Nadella.
"We want the people of this country and especially the people who serve this country to know that we at Microsoft have their back," Smith wrote after the meeting. "They will have access to the best technology that we create."
He warned that JEDI allowed Microsoft to be a part of the future from the inside, and to leave would "reduce our opportunity to engage in the public debate about how new technologies can best be used in a responsible way," adding: "We are not going to withdraw from the future. In the most positive way possible, we are going to work to help shape it."
Google has already withdrawn from an AI project involving drones over concerns that it wouldn't 'align with our AI principles'. Amazon has, however, put in a bid too with boss Jeff Bezos warning:
"One of the jobs of the senior leadership team is to make the right decision even when it's unpopular," adding "If big tech companies are going to turn their back on the U.S. Department of Defense, this country is going to be in trouble. I like this country." μ
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