Microsoft has disclosed it plans to sell artificial intelligence to the military forces of the United States of America, along with any other technology that they will need “to build a strong defence.”
The said announcement comes just months after Google informed the Pentagon that it would not be selling them technology products that could be utilised for weapons.
According to a report in the New York Times, the debate regarding the use of AI in the military comes as the United States is in a race with China to build the next-generation security technology, however, Microsoft has now chosen to take on the challenge.
In the NYT report, Brad Smith, the General Counsel of Microsoft stated: “Microsoft was born in the United States, is headquartered in the United States, and has grown up with all the benefits that have long come from being in this country.”
However, some people are opposed to the involvement of tech firms in military and federal law enforcement, with thousands of employees of Google even signing a petition after it was revealed the company’s old AI technology to the Pentagon to analyse the drone footage.
Google has since dropped out the running for a cloud computing contract with the Pentagon because of a conflict of corporate values. It has been criticised by Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle.
He stated: “I think U.S. tech companies who say we will not support the U.S. Military, we will not work on any technology that helps our military, but yet goes into China and facilitates the Chinese government surveilling their people is pretty shocking.”
Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, has also shown his support for the US military and his firm are seen as the frontrunner for that cloud computing contract, while Microsoft is also considered as a strong contender.