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AI Activists to Target Microsoft at Build 2023

Posted May 22, 2023 | AI | Artificial Intelligence | Cloud | Dev | Microsoft | Microsoft Build | Windows

The activists from Ekō have published a full-page ad in The Seattle Times and a billboard outside of Microsoft Build 2023 denouncing the software giant’s irresponsible release of AI. The organization is calling on Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to “scale up the company’s ethics team and to safeguard Microsoft’s AI products, including ChatGPT, from the global harms of disinformation.”

“Just a few weeks after Microsoft made a $10 billion dollar investment and strategic partnership with OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, Microsoft reportedly fired its entire ‘Ethics and Society’ team whose job it was to make sure the technology was safe to use,” the Ekō announcement notes. “Ekō’s campaign in response to the news quickly accumulated over 63,000 petition signatures.”

Ekō is also pushing for an independent ethics team whose mandate isn’t tied to profits. It says that Microsoft lacks transparency about whether there is any independent oversight to ensure that its AI has safeguards in place to protect against the spread of harmful disinformation, including the electoral disinformation that has become increasingly problematic in recent years.

“ChatGPT is already spewing out false information, and it could trigger a disinformation nightmare on a scale not previously seen – upending elections and stoking hate and violence,” Ekō’s Maen Hammad says. But rather than addressing the risks of their shiny new technology, Microsoft has apparently gutted its entire Ethics and Society team. We need tech leaders that make technology that works for humanity, not against it.”

Build 2023 opens tomorrow in Seattle, Washington.

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