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An open letter to Microsoft: don’t bid on the US military’s project JEDI

We joined Microsoft to create a positive impact on people and society, with the expectation that the technologies we build will not cause harm or human suffering. Tuesday’s blog post serves as a public declaration of Microsoft’s intent to bid on the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract — a contract that represents a $10 billion project to build cloud services for the Department of Defense... Many Microsoft employees don’t believe that what we build should be used for waging war. When we decided to work at Microsoft, we were doing so in the hopes of “empowering every person on the planet to achieve more,” not with the intent of ending lives and enhancing lethality... Like those who took action at Google, Salesforce, and Amazon, we ask all employees of tech companies to ask how your work will be used, where it will be applied, and act according to your principles.

... [W]e ask, what are Microsoft’s A.I. Principles, especially regarding the violent application of powerful A.I. technology? How will workers, who build and maintain these services in the first place, know whether our work is being used to aid profiling, surveillance, or killing?... If Microsoft is to be accountable for the products and services it makes, we need clear ethical guidelines and meaningful accountability governing how we determine which uses of our technology are acceptable, and which are off the table. 

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