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Microsoft Cuts Team Focused on AI Ethics, Report Says

The group reportedly played a key role in making sure Microsoft's AI principles were actually built into its products.

a logo of chatgpt on an iphone in front of a microsoft logo
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Launched last month, Microsoft's new AI-powered Bing search seems to have struck a chord with potential users. And on Tuesday, the company confirmed that the new Bing is powered by GPT-4, artificial intelligence company Open AI's follow-up to its popular ChatGPT AI chatbot.

While Microsoft continues to develop its AI tools, the tech giant has reportedly laid off a team that played a key role in ensuring the company's products incorporate AI in an ethical way.

Among the 10,000 Microsoft employees laid off in January, the entire ethics and society team within the AI section of the company was cut, according to a Monday report by Platformer. Microsoft still has an Office of Responsible AI to create rules and principles for its AI initiatives, but the now former team reportedly worked to make sure those principles were reflected in actual products. The team was also assessing potential risks posed by integrating OpenAI's technology into Microsoft's suite of products, according to Platformer. 

Microsoft didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, but the company told Platformer that it's committed to developing AI products and experiences safely and responsibly. 

"Over the past six years we have increased the number of people across our product teams and within the Office of Responsible AI who, along with all of us at Microsoft, are accountable for ensuring we put our AI principles into practice," the company told Platformer in a statement. "We appreciate the trailblazing work the ethics and society team did to help us on our ongoing responsible AI journey."

In January, Microsoft pledged to spend billions on AI as it continues to extend its partnership with OpenAI. 

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