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Microsoft 'welcomes dialog' over HoloLens use by the military, but doesn't have to listen
The Register ^ | Feb 26, 2019 | Richard Speed

Posted on 02/27/2019 8:20:56 PM PST by dayglored

It looks like you want to increase your lethality. Do you want some help with that?

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has responded to employees' concerns over the company's decision to flog its HoloLens tech to the US military.

The deal, worth nearly half a billion dollars, was signed off last November and will see the US military just as disappointed with its field of view as the rest of us, to the tune of 100,000 units.

At the time, the goal of the project was to "increase lethality by enhancing the ability to detect, decide and engage before the enemy".

military

Microsoft to staff: We remain locked and loaded with US military – and will keep adding voice to AI ethics debate

READ MORE

Enter the Twitter account Microsoft Workers 4 Good, which took exception to the whole "increase lethality" thing. The group, which decided to wait until the eve of Alex Kipman's big day in Barcelona (the Mobile World Congress will be there all of this week) before acting, kicked off with a letter to Nadella and Pope-botherer Brad Smith, saying they didn't "sign up to develop weapons" and demanding a say in what the company does with their works.

Microsoft's employees have vented in the past about its dealings with US agencies, urging bosses to withdraw from megabucks contracts such as the Pentagon's JEDI project. Smith and Nadella had a crack at dealing with the problem during a staff Q&A last year, explaining that those defending the US should have the best tech (i.e. Microsoft's), and if employees didn't like it then, well, HR is over there.

Google announced back in June it wasn't renewing its own controversial AI identification involvement in the Department of Defense's Project Maven. It also dropped out of the JEDI race. 3,000 staff had earlier signed an open letter to the search giant, imploring it not to get involved in "the business of war".

Microsoft, on the other hand, has stated that "when it comes to the US military, as a company, Microsoft will be engaged".

Microsoft Workers 4 Good first made an appearance at the end of January, claiming the activities of the Microsoft Political Action Committee (MSPAC) – a group that decides which politicos will receive cash from sources such as employee donations – "was singlehandedly the topic most wanted to talk about".

It seems the HoloLens 2 launch was too good an opportunity to pass up, hence the letter regarding the months-old deal.

The group claims to have 250+ Microsofties signed up in support of the letter. It's not quite the 3,000 who put their name to the Google note and a far cry from the 131,000 employed by the company.

Heck, in the UK 806 people have signed up to a petition to the government entitled "Justice for cats".

Nevertheless, Nadella felt the need to respond when asked about the letter in an interview. The CEO said that while the company "welcomes dialog with our employees on a continuous basis", it has "made a principled decision that we are not going to withhold technology from institutions that we have elected in democracies to protect the freedoms we enjoy".

So there. ®


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Computers/Internet; Hobbies
KEYWORDS: hololens; microsoft; military; windowspinglist
"...we are not going to withhold technology from institutions that we have elected in democracies to protect the freedoms we enjoy."

-- Satya Nadella

1 posted on 02/27/2019 8:20:56 PM PST by dayglored
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To: Abby4116; afraidfortherepublic; aft_lizard; AF_Blue; AppyPappy; arnoldc1; ATOMIC_PUNK; bajabaja; ...
Microsoft does the right thing ... PING!

You can find all the Windows Ping list threads with FR search: just search on keyword "windowspinglist".

2 posted on 02/27/2019 8:21:43 PM PST by dayglored ("Listen. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government."`)
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To: dayglored
Another (paraphrased) quote:

"...those defending the US should have the best tech (i.e. Microsoft's), and if employees didn't like it then, well, HR is over there."

3 posted on 02/27/2019 8:23:26 PM PST by dayglored ("Listen. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government."`)
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To: dayglored

How long before the Clinton Crime Family is selling it to Red China?


4 posted on 02/27/2019 8:25:00 PM PST by BenLurkin (The above is not a statement of fact. It is either satire or opinion. Or both.)
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To: dayglored

These idiots... It’s your country that gives you so much, you fools.


5 posted on 02/27/2019 8:25:03 PM PST by mrsmith (Dumb sluts: Lifeblood of the Media, Backbone of the Democrat/RINO Party!)
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To: dayglored

Microsoft sucks anyway. Use people that care and will give their all.


6 posted on 02/27/2019 8:28:28 PM PST by StolarStorm
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To: dayglored

These socialist millennials consider the USA to be evil, and they want to work toward a global socialist workers paradise like Venezuela. No surprise they hate the US military...


7 posted on 02/27/2019 10:50:07 PM PST by ETCS
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To: mrsmith

Enter the Twitter account Microsoft Workers 4 Good,...

They sound like a bunch of incredibly naive morons.

They do know that without the US military they would be working for slave wages under a communist regime, I hope.

But likely they don’t.


8 posted on 02/27/2019 10:51:20 PM PST by dp0622 (The Left should know if.. Trump is kicked out of office, it is WAR!)
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To: mrsmith

Either they are a majority of foreigners or they are just plain stupid, when it comes to anything beyond their tech scope. This is what happens to free people over an extended period. They do not realize how good they have it, because many have never experienced anything beyond America.


9 posted on 02/27/2019 11:13:40 PM PST by Robert DeLong
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To: ETCS

The thing that amazes me is that when push comes to shove these libtards just assume we will protect them. That probably just isn’t true any longer. I’d do believe the Chinese could start offloading Infantry in Seattle and Long Beach and very few of us would give a damn.


10 posted on 02/28/2019 1:25:27 AM PST by wastoute (Government cannot redistribute wealth. Government can only redistribute poverty.)
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To: dayglored

Yep - tell the little snowflakes that when they start paying you instead of the other way around, they can decide what products will be developed and worked on....


11 posted on 02/28/2019 3:48:33 AM PST by trebb (Don't howl about illegal leeches while not donating to FR - it's hypocritical.)
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To: dp0622

If they back out of a contract, just sue them out of existence.


12 posted on 02/28/2019 4:11:38 AM PST by GingisK
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To: dayglored
Augmented reality technology is advancing rapidly and will change everything. It will be so pervasive that today's children will laugh at the tech imagined in today's Marvel movies, Star Wars, and Star Trek.

This new HoloLens doesn't use a screen to merge its objects with reality, its lens allows light through like regular glasses and it paints its content directly on the back of the user's eyeball directly on the retina. This content can be seen even in direct sunlight and in a dim room could offer a totally immerse experience. They are imagining displays for soldiers like that first shown in the 1st Terminator movie where the real world is overlaid with additional information and analysis. Adding night vision cameras, infrared cameras, and ultraviolet cameras while at the same time offering AI to interpret the scene makes for a soldier that has a clear advantage.

I was attending TechCruch in San Francisco last year and a vendor demonstrated to me real-time time AI video analysis of people talking to the camera, the software could detect the person's heartbeat, respiration rate, levels of stress in the expression and determine whether they were agitated, nervous, angry, etc. That technology could easily be hosted on the Hololense and would be extremely useful on the battlefield and intelligence gathering.

In 10 years I expected smart phones, tablets, and even computers will be a thing of the past as regular looking eyeglasses will offer this technology. The only people who will have smart phones will be people with some sort of visual problem, who get nauseous, or freak out when using these displays. They will go the way of the pager.

Check out the demonstration of the HoloLens at the Mobile World Conference this week in Barcelona: https://youtu.be/c1CZsqwnWtM

The possibilities and the perils are endless.

13 posted on 02/28/2019 5:58:31 AM PST by wildcard_redneck
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To: wildcard_redneck
Sorry about the first link. This one demonstrates the HoloLens much better: https://youtu.be/BZ-Gl5pf0i4
14 posted on 02/28/2019 6:07:45 AM PST by wildcard_redneck
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