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Microsoft reportedly proposed the use of OpenAI's DALL-E to the US Department of Defense

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While many people may use OpenAI's AI-based image creator DALL-E to make images of big bananas that are used as sofas, a new report claims Microsoft has tried to show how it could be used to help train military personnel to the US Department of Defense.

According to The Intercept, a Microsoft document with the proposal was included as part of a Department of Defense training seminar in October 2023. The files that included Microsoft's presentation were posted by Alethia Labs, a non-profit consultant to the US government, on its website. The files were later discovered by journalist Jack Poulson who posted his own article on what they contain on his Substack page.

You can view the Microsoft presentation, which is titled "Generative AI with DoD data", on Documentcloud.org. It shows Microsoft promoting its partnership with OpenAI to develop generative AI services. One part of the presentation slide offers up a number of examples how those services could be used by the government.

One of those examples involved the military. The slide stated:

Battle Management Systems: Using the DALL-E models to create images to train battle management systems.

In an email statement to The Intercept, a Microsoft spokesperson wrote:

This is an example of potential use cases that was informed by conversations with customers on the art of the possible with generative AI.

OpenAI has tried to distance itself from Microsoft's slide presentation. Its own spokesperson says the company was not involved in Microsoft's proposal and it has not made any such proposals to the US military. The spokesperson added:

OpenAI’s policies prohibit the use of our tools to develop or use weapons, injure others or destroy property.

The US House of Representatives recently revealed that it has banned the use of Microsoft's Copilot generative AI assistant, which in part uses OpenAI's ChatGPT model, by its staff members. Microsoft says it is working on a version of Copilot for use by governments with additional security features. It is due to become available sometime in the summer of 2024.

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