Microsoft has taken the ethical implications of Artificial Intelligence very seriously, focusing on creating responsible systems. It is reconsidering a proposal to upgrade the Artificial Intelligence ethics to its checklist of product audits.

At the EmTech Digital Conference held at San Fransico this March, Microsoft confirmed that the company is adding AI ethics reviews to a checklist of audits to reduce chances of failure. However, a Microsoft spokesperson refused to guarantee its implementation, saying that the plan was only one of “several options being discussed.” Strategy discussions are underway for an AI strategy that could potentially influence operations globally, in addition to the development at the product stage. Microsoft has implemented facial recognition principles in its daily activities, continuing to operationalize its broader AI principles across the company.

The industry has continuously moved its focus towards addressing and curbing AI-related biases from creeping in. A roundup of AI-ethics related programs launched by Tesla, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google showed a series of failures and successes that include product overhauls addressing biases and rejection ratios due to critical discrimination’s in the AI architecture.

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In addition to Microsoft’s defined internal facial recognition principles, it has several internal working groups responsible for checking AI Ethics based on- accountability, fairness, and transparency. They also have a specialized advisory board reporting to the senior management for AI Ethics and Effects in Engineering and Research (Aether). Recently, the research conducted by Aether highlighted recommendations on putting a check on the ethical use of facial recognition technologies. This research has also prompted the cancellation of “significant” sales due to such ethical concerns. The Aether team subsequently works on developing tools that can detect and address bias, providing recommendations for human-AI interaction.

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Based on such feedback, Microsoft has now announced a $1 billion investment in an OpenAI ethical AI project backed by Amazon and Tesla’s Elon Musk. This partnership will be dedicated to the development of advanced AI models on Microsoft’s cloud computing platform – Azure. All of the companies confirmed adhering to the shared principles on ethics and trust. The partnership foresees a vision of development of Artificial General Information (AGI) collaborating with people to help solve problems like climate change. Firms now agree to deploy AI technologies securely and safely to enable the wide distribution of its economic benefits. Microsoft will shine as the preferred partner for commercializing new “supercomputing” AI strategies developed as part of this democratizing AI initiative.

Microsoft is also a prominent member of the nonprofit “Partnership on AI”  organization. This firmly puts across the company’s vision prioritizing on aiding public awareness about Artificial Intelligence technology, practices, and ethics.

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