Microsoft pitched DALL·E to military

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According to recent reports, Microsoft allegedly pitched OpenAI's DALL-E image generation technology to the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) last year as a potential tool for military applications, including battlefield visualizations. Key details:
  • In an October 2023 presentation titled "Generative AI with DoD Data", Microsoft highlighted to the Pentagon how OpenAI's tools like DALL-E and ChatGPT could be utilized by the military.
  • One proposed use case was employing DALL-E to create images for training battle management systems and helping computers better perceive battlefield conditions, which could aid in target identification.
  • This pitch came after OpenAI had removed its previous prohibition on military use of its AI technologies in early 2023. Prior to that, OpenAI's policies explicitly banned the use of tools like DALL-E for "weapons development" and "military and warfare".
  • Microsoft, a close partner of OpenAI, is not bound by OpenAI's original mission and policies around ensuring its AI benefits humanity. Microsoft has a history of military contracts.
  • Both Microsoft and OpenAI have not provided many details on the current status or outcome of this proposal. OpenAI stated it has not directly sold any tools to the DOD.
The revelation highlights the growing interest from militaries worldwide in utilizing advanced generative AI capabilities for defense purposes, while also raising questions about the original intentions and ethical stances of AI companies like OpenAI as their technologies rapidly advance into the mainstream. Microsoft itself has faced internal concerns from employees about the potential misuse and harmful outputs of its own AI image generation tools.
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