As part of recent layoffs that affected about 10,000 people around the corporation, Microsoft has fired its entire ethics and society team within the artificial intelligence division.
At a time when the business is spearheading the charge to make AI technologies accessible to the mainstream, the decision leaves Microsoft without a dedicated staff to ensure its AI principles are closely related to product design, according to current and former workers.
The Office of Responsible AI, which is entrusted with developing guidelines and norms to direct Microsoft’s AI activities, is still operational. Notwithstanding the latest layoffs, the corporation claims that its overall investment in responsibility work is rising.
Workers claimed that the company’s ethics and society team was essential in ensuring that the design of the products they ship genuinely reflects the responsible AI ideals of the organization.
In 2020, the ethics and society team had a staff of about 30 people, including engineers, designers, and philosophers. The team’s size was reduced to about seven persons in October as part of an organizational change.