Microsoft upholds plan to work with US military despite employees' objection

Credit Microsoft

Credit Microsoft

"We believe in the strong defense of the United States and we want the people who defend it to have access to the nation's best technology, including from Microsoft", Smith said.

While acknowledging the ethical considerations of today's most advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, and the ways they could be abused, he explicitly stated that Microsoft will continue to work with the government and the military.

Earlier this month a blog post appeared on the publishing platform Medium on the day bids were due for a massive us military cloud contract.

Microsoft President Brad Smith wrote in an official blog post that he and CEO Satya Nadella addressed the employees' concerns about the company's involvement in USA military projects at a regular meeting Thursday.

Others, such as Oracle founder Larry Ellison and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, have shown their support for the US military.

"This is a great country and it does need to be defended", Bezos said at the Wired 25th Anniversary conference in San Francisco.

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"To withdraw from this market is to reduce our opportunity to engage in the public debate about how new technologies can best be used in a responsible way", Smith wrote. Although he addressed concerns about the ethics of working with the military, Smith argued that Microsoft will advocate for policies and laws that govern the use of AI and other new technologies "responsibly and ethically".

Smith's letter also offered a glimpse of how Microsoft is dealing internally with a broader tension in the tech community over the issue. He wrote that he and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella addressed employee concerns about Microsoft's military work in a regularly scheduled meeting Thursday, and conceded some workers are still uneasy about it.

"We understand that some of our employees may have different views", Smith wrote.

Smith acknowledged in his blog that not all Microsoft employees will agree with its work on defense projects.

His letter went great lengths to portray the US military as a force for good, noting that "millions of Americans have served and fought in important and just wars", including freeing enslaved African Americans in the Civil War and liberating European nations in World War II. "We want the people of this country and especially the people who serve this country to know that we at Microsoft have their backs".

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