Microsoft Corporation MSFT has reportedly fired its entire Ethics and Society team — and its rivalry with Alphabet Inc.‘s GOOG GOOGL Google could be at the center of it.
What Happened: The Satya Nadella-led company has slashed its Ethics and Society team within the artificial intelligence organization. The decision is part of recent layoffs that impacts 10,000 employees across the company, according to Platformer.
Presently, Microsoft may have a once-in-a-generation chance to gain the upper hand on Google.
While launching the new version of Bing, the company told investors there was a potential annual revenue gain of up to $2 billion for every 1% of market share taken away from Google.
According to employees, as Microsoft intensifies efforts to release AI tools faster than its competitors like Google, its leadership has become less interested in the long-term thinking that the Ethics and Society team specializes in.
Among many things, the recently laid-off team was working on identifying risks posed by Microsoft’s adoption of OpenAI‘s technology.
While Microsoft maintains the Office of Responsible AI, concerns remain over AI technology’s potent and possibly existential risks.
The company has three groups working on the issue, but the elimination of the Ethics and Society team raises questions about its commitment to responsible development, the report noted.
Nevertheless, Microsoft’s investment in OpenAI is yielding early success. Bing now boasts 100 million daily active users, a third of whom are new since the search engine relaunched with OpenAI’s technology.
Microsoft did not immediately respond to Benzinga’s request for comments.
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