Microsoft affords relocation to a whole lot of China-based AI employees amid U.S.-China tech tensions

May 16, 2024 | blog

In this text

A person walks previous Microsoft’s native headquarters in Beijing on July 20, 2021. 
Noel Celis | Afp | Getty Images

Microsoft has reportedly requested China-based cloud computing and synthetic intelligence operations workers to think about relocating overseas, as Washington cracks down on Beijing’s entry to the superior expertise. 

The Wall Street Journal broke the story on Thursday, reporting that the employees, principally comprising Chinese engineers, had been provided the chance to switch to nations together with the U.S., Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, in accordance with unnamed sources. 

One supply instructed WSJ that Microsoft had made the provide to about 700 to 800 folks in whole who had been concerned in machine studying and different work associated to cloud computing. 

CNBC couldn’t independently confirm the report.

In a press release shared with CNBC, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed that the corporate had “shared an optional internal transfer opportunity with a subset of employees” with out supplying particulars on the quantity and affiliation of employees affected.

“We remain committed to the region and will continue to operate in this and other markets where we have a presence,” the spokesperson mentioned, including that the potential transfers wouldn’t affect operations.

Microsoft employs roughly 7,000 engineers for its Asia-Pacific research-and-development group, with most of this workforce primarily based in China, the WSJ studies.

The transfer comes amid U.S. efforts to forestall China from growing cutting-edge AI expertise, which may very well be used for army functions. In the previous two years, the U.S. has positioned waves of restrictions on China limiting its skill to purchase superior chips and chip-making gear that may be deployed to coach AI fashions. 

Now, the Biden administration is seeking to place new guardrails on the export of superior AI fashions, similar to the big language mannequin that powers Microsoft-backed ChatGPT, in accordance with current studies. 

There is presently little authorities oversight stopping firms like Microsoft, one of many U.S.’s largest cloud-computing and AI gamers, from promoting or providing AI mannequin companies to overseas entities. 

The U.S. reportedly fears that AI fashions, which mine huge quantities of knowledge to generate content material, may very well be used for cyber assaults or to create organic weapons.

Earlier this yr, Microsoft launched a report stating that state-backed hackers from Russia, China, and Iran had been utilizing instruments from OpenAI to hone their expertise and assist their hacking campaigns. 

Microsoft has been deeply ingrained in China for greater than three a long time, whilst different Western tech firms had been pushed out by strict regulation. The firm says that China is residence to its largest R&D middle outdoors of the U.S.

Read the total report from Wall Street Journal.

MoneyMaker FX EA Trading Robot

powered by