Microsoft workers protest use of HoloLens headsets for war


A group of Microsoft workers is requiring the business cancel an agreement providing the U.S. Army with HoloLens headsets that they state would turn real-world battlegrounds into a computer game.

Microsoft’s head-mounted HoloLens screens use enhanced reality, which indicates audiences can see virtual images superimposed over the landscapes in front of them.

A letter signed by more than 50 Microsoft workers Friday and distributed on an internal messaging board stated the technology might assist soldiers area—and eliminate—enemies on the battleground.

They state they “refuse to create technology for warfare and oppression.”

“We did not sign up to develop weapons, and we demand a say in how our work is used,” the letter states. It asks Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and President Brad Smith to cancel a $480 million agreement the Army revealed in November.

Microsoft stated in a declaration Friday that it is dedicated to dealing with the military, consisting of the Army under the HoloLens agreement.

Microsoft indicated an October post by Smith stating those who safeguard the U.S. ought to have “access to the nation’s best technology.” The business included it will continue to address “important ethical and public policy issues relating to (artificial intelligence) and the military.”

Military bidding files state the brand-new technology—which the Army calls its Integrated Visual Enhancement System—will be utilized for both training and warfighting. The Army’s mentioned goal is to bring more situational awareness to soldiers so that they end up being more deadly and mobile.

The opposing workers state it indicates HoloLens, much better understood for its company and home entertainment applications, will be utilized to assist eliminate.

The opposing workers compose that “it will be deployed on the battlefield, and works by turning warfare into a simulated ‘video game,’ further distancing soldiers from the grim stakes of war and the reality of bloodshed.” The Army didn’t instantly react to a demand for remark Friday.

The letter likewise asks Microsoft to stop constructing any weapons innovations and designate an independent principles evaluate board to identify appropriate usages of Microsoft technology.

The internal discontent over the Army agreement follows a year of advocacy by tech workers who have actually ended up being progressively pushed to voice their issues about how their items are used. A comparable staff member protest at Google in 2015 added to the business leaving of the armed force’s Task Maven, which utilizes expert system to examine aerial images from battle zone. Microsoft workers likewise in 2015 raised public issues and distributed an open letter opposing the business’s deal with U.S. migration authorities.

Microsoft under Nadella has actually looked for to differentiate itself as a fairly minded corporation that makes sure to use its technological advances in manner ins which benefit society. The staff member protest letter Friday acknowledged some of those efforts however stated more requires to be done to notify engineers of the intent of the software application they’re constructing.

It likewise comes as Nadella is anticipated to reveal a brand-new generation of HoloLens headsets Sunday at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, Spain.


Check Out even more:
Microsoft to keep Pentagon quote amidst principles issues

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