If Hololens 2 marks a very interesting technological advance, the development of the helmet is also controversial because of the partnerships chosen by Microsoft, especially with the US military.
Microsoft took advantage of the MWC 2019 to unveil Hololens 2, its mixed reality headset. If the device has bluffed our friends Numerama, some employees of the firm are rather worried.
In November 2018, Microsoft won a contract with the US military worth $ 480 million, enough to fund the development of technology, but also equip soldiers with helmets. A use case that does not please employees. In this regard, Google has also had to face controversy after signing a partnership, still with the US military.
An internal petition
The "Microsoft Workers 4 Good" group sent an open letter to Satya Nadella and Brad Smith, head of Microsoft and in charge of legal issues, to demand the cancellation of the lawsuit. contract. Employees say they are "worried about Microsoft working to bring weapons technology to the US military, helping to increase its lethality with the tools we have created."
Brad Smith had promised that people working on these projects would be able to change their division easily, but that does not answer the problem according to the group: "these people lack visibilities on the use of their work". The letter recalls that after all, the creation of the Hololens helmet did not necessarily imply its use by the soldier. The group goes further by claiming that "this application of Hololens transforms the battlefield into a video game".
After the announcement of Hololens 2, MW4G pointed out that the presentation video released by Microsoft highlights only the other cases of helmet use such as helping medicine or art, exactly what the firm should push for. after the group.
This is a gorgeous video that shows the amazing use cases of the HoloLens technology. Medicine, art, manufacturing. Not a single harmful use case. This is what we should be supporting. https://t.co/iwavKztxtZ
– Microsoft Workers 4 Good (@ MsWorkers4) February 24, 2019
Hard to imagine for the moment that Microsoft will miss a contract as juicy, whatever, this issue of ethics.