The Pentagon’s $10 billion JEDI cloud contract bidding course of has drawn loads of consideration. Earlier this month, Google withdrew, claiming ethical considerations. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos responded in an interview at Wired25 that he thinks that it’s a mistake for large tech firms to show their again on the U.S. army. Microsoft president Brad Smith agrees.
In a blog post today, he made clear that Microsoft intends to be a bidder in authorities/army contracts, even when some Microsoft workers have an issue with it. Whereas acknowledging the moral concerns of right this moment’s most superior applied sciences like synthetic intelligence, and the methods they might be abused, he explicitly acknowledged that Microsoft will proceed to work with the federal government and the army.
“First, we consider within the sturdy protection of the USA and we wish the individuals who defend it to have entry to the nation’s greatest expertise, together with from Microsoft,” Smith wrote within the weblog submit.
To that finish, the corporate desires to win that JEDI cloud contract, one thing it has acknowledged from the beginning, even whereas criticizing the winner-take-all nature of the deal. Within the weblog submit, Smith cited the JEDI contract for instance of the corporate’s want to work carefully with the U.S. authorities.
“Lately Microsoft bid on an essential protection venture. It’s the DOD’s Joint Enterprise Protection Infrastructure cloud venture – or “JEDI” – which can re-engineer the Protection Division’s end-to-end IT infrastructure, from the Pentagon to field-level assist of the nation’s servicemen and girls. The contract has not been awarded nevertheless it’s an instance of the type of work we’re dedicated to doing,” he wrote.
He went on, very similar to Bezos, to wrap his firm’s philosophy in patriotic rhetoric, reasonably than about successful profitable contracts. “We would like the folks of this nation and particularly the individuals who serve this nation to know that we at Microsoft have their backs. They may have entry to the perfect expertise that we create,” Smith wrote.
All through the piece, Smith continued to stroll a nice line between patriotic responsibility to assist the U.S. army, whereas fastidiously conceding that there will likely be completely different opinions in a big and various firm inhabitants (a few of whom aren’t U.S. residents). In the end, he believes that it’s crucial that tech firms be included within the dialog when the federal government makes use of superior applied sciences.
“However we will’t anticipate these new developments to be addressed properly if the folks within the tech sector who know probably the most about expertise withdraw from the dialog,” Smith wrote.
Like Bezos, he made it clear that the corporate management goes to proceed to pursue contracts like JEDI, whether or not it’s out of a way of responsibility or financial practicality or slightly of each — whether or not workers agree or not.