As big tech in the US faces increased opposition from its own employees over Pentagon contracts, the head of Microsoft Corporation appears to have decided to throw his weight behind the US military and to offer them full support.
Microsoft is “going to provide the US military with access to the best technology … all the technology we create. Full stop,” Brad Smith, the president of the tech giant, said at the Reagan National Defense Forum, held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
Smith also sought to explain his decision, saying his company actually wants “Silicon Valley to know just how ethical and honorable a tradition the military has.” He argued that the military should not be left out of global technological progress in the field of artificial intelligence, which is “of importance to everybody and not just young people who happen to live on the West Coast.”
However, he was still unable to totally ignore the ethical concerns expressed by Microsoft employees, amid the growing opposition to the tech giant’s cooperation with the Pentagon among the company’s own staff members.
“There is some angst” among “some” workforces, Smith admitted, adding that Microsoft would “engage to address the ethical issues that new technology is creating.” However, he did not say a word about Microsoft potentially changing its policies following the employees’ concerns.