AI Made Friendly HERE

Microsoft exec discusses AI-related issues including ethics, energy consumption

As Microsoft advances construction of a $3.3 billion data center campus in Mount Pleasant, an executive with the company spoke in Milwaukee Wednesday about how it’s approaching the ethical use of artificial intelligence.

During an event hosted by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, Jim Paetsch, vice president at Milwaukee 7, said there was a 16-month recruitment process involved in attracting Microsoft to the state.

“The $3.3 billion investment in Mount Pleasant will be the first phase through 2026,” said Paetsch. “This summer, there will be 2,300 construction workers on that job.”

The event included a Q&A with Ryan Harkins, senior director of state affairs and public policy at Microsoft. He explained how the company is addressing the issues that come with the use of artificial intelligence, including energy consumption and ethics. Below are portions of the discussion between Harkins and Dale Kooyenga, president of MMAC.

Kooyenga: “What is Microsoft doing to look downstream as far as the energy consumption that AI will require?”
Harkins: “There’s no question that it takes a lot of energy to train and create large language models. The data centers that are required to train those models are really big facilities and they take a lot of energy. Issues around energy, energy consumption and sustainability are issues that we take very seriously and have for some time. We are interested in engaging with policymakers and members of the communities where we invest to try to ensure not only that our data center is affecting energy, maybe in order to train models and provide the kinds of products and services that our customers want, but that we do so in a way that meets the sustainability goals of those communities.”

Kooyenga: “There’s been a lot of drama and news around Microsoft’s partnership with OpenAI and why it’s necessary. Can you tell us what could go wrong, what the world would look like with AI and no ethics, and what Microsoft’s partnership and strategy to address that is?
Harkins: “Our partnership with open AI really started as an effort to provide them with the kind of infrastructure support they needed to do the work they are doing. We’re really excited about our partnership with open AI. They are truly at the cutting edge of creating remarkable technologies. When it comes to ethics, there are several different ethical concerns people have raised about AI. There are legitimate concerns about bias and discrimination. These programs are built and designed by humans. Humans have our own biases and prejudices….There are a number of potential policy prescriptions that people have suggested to try to ensure that technologies are not embedded biases in directions. There are a number of other things that policymakers can put in place that can help organizations start to navigate this technology.”

Kooyenga: “This is an industry that obviously has tremendous interest. Russia, China and ither nations want to harness this power as well. Where does the U.S. stand with this technology?
Harkins: “There is a global AI arms race and our American companies are at the forefront of this technology. There are a number of countries, like China, that are incredibly advanced. We, like others, are concerned about our ability to keep pace and continue to stay ahead. It will require all hands on deck, not just tech sector companies like Microsoft, but academia. Academia has traditionally powered many of the technological developments we’ve seen in this country. Academia in general does not have access to the kind of resources it needs to unleash its full potential. That’s why we’ve been supporting something called the National AI Research project, which is an effort to ensure that academia and others access the kinds of resources they need.”
Originally Appeared Here

You May Also Like

About the Author:

Early Bird