Baku. 23 February. REPORT.AZ/ A group of Microsoft Corp. employees are demanding that the company abandon a $480 million contract with the U.S. Army to build versions of its HoloLens augmented reality headsets for the battlefield, the latest in a series of protests from workers at technology companies objecting to certain uses of the products they’re building, Report informs citing Bloomberg.
"We are alarmed that Microsoft is working to provide weapons technology to the U.S. Military, helping one country's government 'increase lethality' using tools we built,” said the workers in a letter that began circulating throughout the company on Friday. "We did not sign up to develop weapons, and we demand a say in how our work is used.”
The letter, addressed to Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella and Brad Smith, the company’s president and chief legal officer, comes just days before Microsoft plans to introduce the second version of the HoloLens, a head-mounted device that projects digital imagery onto the physical world. Microsoft has generally described HoloLens as a productivity tool for professionals in fields like architecture and engineering, or as an entertainment device. It has already worked with the U.S. and Israeli militaries for training applications but, as the letter points out, “it has never crossed the line” into weapons development.
In addition to cancelling the contract, the employees call for Microsoft to publish a policy explicitly laying out the acceptable uses for its products, and to appoint an independent ethics board to enforce it.