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Microsoft, Amazon in Race For $10bn Pentagon Project

The DoD is likely to announce the winner this month

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The Amazon warehouse in San Fernando de Henares is seen during a 3-day walkout to demand better wages and working conditions, on the outskirts of Madrid, Spain. VOA

The Pentagon has selected Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS, the cloud computing arm of Amazon, as two finalists for its $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract, as Oracle missed the bus.

The JEDI Cloud computing contract at the US Department of Defence (DoD) is aimed to bring the entire military under the envelope of a single Cloud provider.

The project saw backlash from several quarters including employees at tech giants like Google and Microsoft, alleging that the “contract is massive in scope and shrouded in secrecy, which makes it nearly impossible to know what we as workers would be building”.

Succumbing to pressure from employees, Google last year dropped its bid to be part of the JEDI contract.

“After evaluating all of the proposals received, the Department of Defence has made a competitive range determination for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure Cloud request for proposals, in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.

Microsoft
Logo of Microsoft outside it’s office. Pixabay

“The two companies within the competitive range will participate further in the procurement process,” Elissa Smith, DoD spokesperson for Public Affairs Operations told TechCrunch on Thursday.

The DoD is likely to announce the winner this month.

Last year, Microsoft employees raised ethical questions on facilitating incorporation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on weapons, illegal surveillance and technologies that could cause “overall harm”.

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“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.

“Microsoft has already acknowledged the dangers of the tech it builds, there is no law preventing the company from exercising its own internal scrutiny and standing by its own ethical compass,” a letter by Microsoft employees detailed. (IANS)

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Here’s Why Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai Believes That Artificial Intelligence Needs To Be Regulated

Advanced AI which is beyond chat bots will soon be used to manipulate social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

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The Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai stressed that "international alignment will be critical to making global standards work" on AI. Wikimedia Commons

Joining Microsoft President Brad Smith and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Monday called for new regulations for Artificial Intelligence (AI), saying the only question now is how to approach it.

Although new regulation is needed, “a cautious approach is required that might not see significant controls placed on AI,” Pichai who was last month took over as the CEO of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, in an editorial piece in The Financial Times.

“There is no question in my mind that artificial intelligence needs to be regulated. It is too important not to. The only question is how to approach it”.

“Companies such as ours cannot just build promising new technology and let market forces decide how it will be used. It is equally incumbent on us to make sure that technology is harnessed for good and available to everyone,” Pichai wrote.

According to CNET, the timing of the editorial coincides with a big push from Google to reveal some of the results of its own work in AI and bring tools it has developed out into the world.

The Alphabet CEO stressed that “international alignment will be critical to making global standards work” on AI.

Sundar
Joining Microsoft President Brad Smith and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Monday called for new regulations for Artificial Intelligence (AI), saying the only question now is how to approach it. Wikimedia Commons

We need to take a “principled approach to applying AI, said the company, while offering Google’s “expertise, experience and tools.”

“We need to be clear-eyed about what could go wrong,” he said.

His comments come as lawmakers and governments globally are considering to limit the use of AI in fields such as face recognition system – an issue close to Microsoft President Brad Smith’s heart who has often criticized the technology, urging governments to enact legislation regarding the technology.

“Unless we act, we risk waking up five years from now to find that facial recognition services have spread in ways that exacerbate societal issues,” said Smith.

Advanced AI which is beyond chat bots will soon be used to manipulate social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, Tesla CEO Elon Musk warned recently.

In his famous debate with former Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma, Musk entered into a lassic argument over the capabilities of emerging technologies like AI.

Sundar
Although new regulation is needed, “a cautious approach is required that might not see significant controls placed on AI,” Sundar Pichai who was last month took over as the CEO of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, in an editorial piece in The Financial Times. Pixabay

Musk said that computers will one day surpass humans in “every single way”. He has predicted that a single company that develops “God-like super intelligence” might achieve world domination.

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If not regulated or controlled soon, AI could become an “immortal dictator” and there will be no escape for humans, the SpaceX CEO had warned. (IANS)