Any battlefield use of the software would be a dramatic turnaround for OpenAI, which describes its mission as developing AI that can benefit all of humanity.

by Sam Biddle, The Intercept

Microsoft last year proposed using OpenAI’s mega-popular image generation tool, DALL-E, to help the Department of Defense build software to execute military operations, according to internal presentation materials reviewed by The Intercept. The revelation comes just months after OpenAI silently ended its prohibition against military work.

The Microsoft presentation deck, titled “Generative AI with DoD Data,” provides a general breakdown of how the Pentagon can make use of OpenAI’s machine learning tools, including the immensely popular ChatGPT text generator and DALL-E image creator, for tasks ranging from document analysis to machine maintenance. (Microsoft invested $10 billion in the ascendant machine learning startup last year, and the two businesses have become tightly intertwined. In February, The Intercept and other digital news outlets sued Microsoft and OpenAI for using their journalism without permission or credit.)

microsoft headquarters

The Microsoft document is drawn from a large cache of materials presented at an October 2023 Department of Defense “AI literacy” training seminar hosted by the U.S. Space Force in Los Angeles. The event included a variety of presentation from machine learning firms, including Microsoft and OpenAI, about what they have to offer the Pentagon.

The publicly accessible files were found on the website of Alethia Labs, a nonprofit consultancy that helps the federal government with technology acquisition, and discovered by journalist Jack Poulson. On Wednesday, Poulson published a broader investigation into the presentation materials. Alethia Labs has worked closely with the Pentagon to help it quickly integrate artificial intelligence tools into its arsenal, and since last year has contracted with the Pentagon’s main AI office. The firm did not respond to a request for comment.

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