Elon Musk Questions Microsoft's Decision to Layoff AI Ethics Team

The tech billionaire has warned about the dangers of unregulated AI technology.

learn more about Madeline Garfinkle

By Madeline Garfinkle

Bloomberg | Getty Images

Earlier this week, Microsoft announced 10,000 more layoffs across the company. Among the employees affected were the company's entire ethics and society team in the artificial intelligence (AI) sector.

The team was responsible for assessing the potential risks and harm posed by AI and then discussing those issues during product development. The team was largest in 2020 at a headcount of 30 before shrinking down to seven in October 2022.

Now, Microsoft has let go of its entire ethics team, a decision some are skeptical of — especially as Microsoft recently invested $10 billion in OpenAI, the startup that created the increasingly popular chatbot, ChatGPT.

Tech billionaire and Twitter CEO Elon Musk tweeted a link to news of Microsoft's layoffs with the caption: "Microsoft fired their AI safety team?"

Musk has previously voiced concerns about the dangers of unregulated AI and was actually an early investor in OpenAI. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO has been sounding the alarm on the dangerous implications for years, at one point calling it one of "the biggest risks to the future of civilization."

Related: 'Sick and Twisted Irony': Students Call Out Vanderbilt University for Using ChatGPT to Address the Michigan State Shooting in an Email to Students

"Think of any technology which is potentially a risk to people, like if it's aircraft or cars or medicine, we have regulatory bodies that oversee the public safety of cars and planes and medicine," Musk said during a virtual appearance at the World Government Summit in Dubai last month. "I think we should have a similar set of regulatory oversight for artificial intelligence because I think it is actually a bigger risk to society."

Musk also said that he is no longer a stakeholder in OpenAI.

Microsoft still has an Office of Responsible AI to create guidelines and principles for AI initiatives. However, one of the main roles of the ethics and society team was to ensure that those rules were actually being followed throughout the design and product development.

Related: The AI Wars Have Begun: Microsoft Announces ChatGPT Bing Integration After Google Introduces AI Competitor, Bard

Madeline Garfinkle

Entrepreneur Staff

Editorial Assistant

Madeline Garfinkle is an Editorial Assistant at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

The Dark Side of Pay Transparency — And What to Do If You Find Out You're Being Underpaid
Thinking of a Career Change? Here Are 4 Steps You Can Take to Get There.
A Founder Who Bootstrapped Her Jewelry Business With Just $1,000 Now Sees 7-Figure Revenue Because She Knew Something About Her Customers Nobody Else Did
Everything You Need to Know About Franchise Law
Business News

'I Don't Feel Like It's Unreasonable': A-List Actor Refused Service At Hotspot For Not Following Dress Code

Academy Award-winning actor Russell Crowe had quite the afternoon after trying to stop at a Japanese steakhouse in Melbourne, Australia following a game of tennis.

Business News

TikTok Influencer Reveals She Makes $350,000 a Month on OnlyFans. 'Absolutely Unreal.'

When Tara Lynn promoted her OnlyFans page on TikTok, she saw her income more than double.

Business News

Jack Daniel's-Fed Whiskey Fungus Consumes Tennessee Town

Fueled by evaporating Jack Daniel's whiskey, the fungus is coating the town in a gray crust.

Business News

Carnival Cruise Wants Passengers to Have Fun in the Sun — But Do This, and You'll Get Burned With a New $500 Fee

The cruise line's updated contract follows a spate of unruly guest behavior across the tourism industry.

Franchise

How to Bring Your Franchise to the Next Level With Marketing Automation

With the impacts of inflation and associated costs of running a business, automation is a powerful solution for streamlining a positive guest experience and overall marketing.