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Microsoft Beats Amazon to win $10bn Pentagon Cloud Contract

It's a key contract for Microsoft as the company battles Amazon for cloud dominance, reports The Verge

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FILE - A sign for Microsoft is seen on a building in Cambridge, Massachusetts, March 18, 2017. VOA

In a shocker to Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos and his Cloud arm Amazon Web Services (AWS), the US government has awarded the much-anticipated $10 billion Cloud contract for Pentagon to Microsoft.

Known as the Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure (JEDI), the Cloud contract will provide enterprise level, commercial Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) to support Department of Defence business and mission operations, the Department of Defence said in a statement late Friday.

“Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, Washington, has been awarded a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with a ceiling value of $10,000,000,000 over a period of 10 years, if all options are exercised,” the statement added.A

The expected completion date of the project is October 24, 2029.

The Pentagon selected Microsoft and AWS, cloud computing arm of Amazon, as two finalists for its $10 billion cloud contract, as the earlier contender Oracle missed the bus.

The JEDI Cloud computing contract is aimed to bring the entire military under the envelope of a single Cloud provider.

Over the last two years, the Department of Defence has awarded more than $11 billion across 10 separate cloud contracts.

“As we continue to execute the DOD Cloud Strategy, additional contracts are planned for both cloud services and complementary migration and integration solutions necessary to achieve effective cloud adoption,” said DOD.

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Security guards stand at the reception desk of the Amazon India office in Bengaluru, India, Aug. 14, 2015. VOA

The base contract period is two years with a $1 million guarantee.

“The National Defence Strategy dictates that we must improve the speed and effectiveness with which we develop and deploy modernised technical capabilities to our women and men in uniform,” said DOD Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy.

“The DOD Digital Modernisation Strategy was created to support this imperative. This award is an important step in execution of the Digital Modernisation Strategy.”

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”.

Also Read: Twitter Will Never Join Facebook’s Libra, Says CEO Jack Dorsey

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

It’s a key contract for Microsoft as the company battles Amazon for cloud dominance, reports The Verge.

US President Donald Trump, who has been a critic of Amazon and Bezos over the company’s tax arrangements, even got involved during the bidding process, saying the government was looking at the contract after “getting enormous complaints” from competitors to Amazon and Microsoft. (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.

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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.

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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.

ALSO READ: Suicide Rates Increasing Among Self-Employed Than Unemployed

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)