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Microsoft has said it will not allow its artificial intelligence (AI) bots to contribute towards helping wage war. The company made a statement following news AI researchers have severed links to a South Korean university that was developing autonomous weaponry.

Eric Horvitz, director of Microsoft Research Labs, spoke at the K&L Gate Conference this week. He reassured attendees and the wider public that Microsoft will ensure its AI bots are used for ethical purposes.

To help enforce this ethos, the company created the Aether Committee, (AI and Ethics in Engineering and Research). The committee is tasked with reviewing how customers use Microsoft’s AI technology. Based on these reviews, the company will decide whether to remain in partnership with clients.

Horvitz suggested the committee has already been used and the company has acted accordingly:

“Significant sales have been cut off,” Horvitz said. “And in other sales, various specific limitations were written down in terms of usage, including ‘may not use data-driven pattern recognition for use in face recognition or predictions of this type.’ ”

“It’s been an intensive effort … and I’m happy to say that this committee has teeth,” Horvitz added.

Microsoft is one of the leaders in AI bot development. The company has plowed huge investment into research and development on artificial intelligence solutions. For example, just last week we reported on a breakthrough in AI human speech prediction methodology. That’s just the tip of a long iceberg of Microsoft AI research.

Company Statement

The company doubled down on Horvitz’s reassurance with a written statement:

“Microsoft believes it is very important to develop and deploy AI in a responsible, trusted and ethical manner. Microsoft created the Aether Committee to identify, study and recommend policies, procedures, and best practices on questions, challenges, and opportunities coming to the fore on influences of AI on people and society.”

AI integration with day-to-day life is inevitable, but Microsoft believes AI should work collaboratively with humans to enhance our lives.