Microsoft workers are approaching the giant tech organization to drop its about $480 million U.S. Armed force contract, saying the arrangement has “crossed the line” into weapons improvement by Microsoft for the first time. They say the utilization of the organization’s HoloLens increased reality technology under the agreement “is designed to help people kill.”
In a letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and President Brad Smith, the laborers likewise state the organization is neglecting to advise its engineers “on the intent of the software they are building.”
The November contract is for what’s called an Integrated Visual Augmentation System.
“The contract’s stated objective is to ‘rapidly develop, test, and manufacture a single platform that Soldiers can use to Fight, Rehearse, and Train that provides increased lethality, mobility, and situational awareness necessary to achieve overmatch against our current and future adversaries,’ ” the letter said.
“We are alarmed that Microsoft is working to provide weapons technology to the U.S. Military, helping one country’s government ‘increase lethality’ using tools we built,” the workers wrote. “We did not sign up to develop weapons, and we demand a say in how our work is used.”
Bloomberg revealed that the agreement could in the long run lead the military to purchase in excess of 100,000 headsets from Microsoft. “The U.S. Army and the Israeli military have already used Microsoft’s HoloLens devices in training, but plans for live combat would be a significant step forward,” the report said.
In October, Smith defended Microsoft’s work with the military, writing in an organization blog post:
“First, we believe that the people who defend our country need and deserve our support. And second, 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. We are not going to withdraw from the future. In the most positive way possible, we are going to work to help shape it.”
Friday’s letter to Microsoft pioneers is the most recent occurrence of U.S. technology workers confronting their organizations over the organizations’ lines of business or policies.
A year ago, Google workers protested the organization’s arrangements to make a censored search engine in China. Furthermore, Google chose not to renew an agreement with the Defense Department after laborers resigned to protest a controversial project including artificial intelligence for drone footage analysis.
Tech laborers from Salesforce, Microsoft, Amazon and Google pressed their CEOs to cut ties and end contracts with U.S.Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other government agencies.