Microsoft has laid off its entire ethics and society team responsible for ensuring the company’s innovations are both ethical and sustainable. The move is part of the recent layoffs that have affected about 10,000 employees across the company, according to The Verge.
The tech industry cut more than 128,000 jobs so far in 2023. Despite Microsoft’s recent cuts, the company says it will still maintain its Office of Responsible AI, tasked with creating rules for the company’s AI initiatives.
“Microsoft is committed to developing AI products and experiences safely and responsibly, and does so by investing in people, processes, and partnerships that prioritize this,” the company said in a statement. “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,” it added. “We appreciate the trailblazing work the Ethics & Society did to help us on our ongoing responsible AI journey.”
Meanwhile, the race to push the limits of AI continues, with Microsoft-backed OpenAI releasing GPT-4, the newest generation of its AI chatbot. GPT-4 can now process images and digest up to 25,000 words. It reportedly passed several AP tests and a bar exam, and the update is already being incorporated into Microsoft’s Bing search engines. According to OpenAI, GPT-4 is 82% less likely to respond to requests for disallowed content and 40% more likely to produce factual responses than GPT-3.5 on internal evaluations. However, the company noted that it is still far from perfect.
Google has also announced new AI features that will soon come to everyday products like Gmail, Google Docs, and the Cloud. In February, the company released its own AI chatbot, Bard, to rival GPT. Google is branding its latest AI lineup as “the most open and innovative AI ecosystem.”