Nearly 200 Microsoft employees are demanding the tech giant drop its contract with the Pentagon to apply HoloLens technology for military purposes, claiming they “refuse to create technology for warfare and oppression.”
The letter, which was posted to Twitter, recognizes that even though nobody will be forced to work on the military project, there are those who have already contributed to the project before the contract was made public.
On behalf of workers at Microsoft, we're releasing an open letter to Brad Smith and Satya Nadella, demanding for the cancelation of the IVAS contract with a call for stricter ethical guidelines.
If you're a Microsoft employee you can sign at: https://t.co/958AhvIHO5 pic.twitter.com/uUZ5P4FJ7X
— Microsoft Workers 4 Good (@MsWorkers4) February 22, 2019
There are strange perspectives coming from both sides of the political aisle on this one. The left is cheering them on, joining in on the rant against Microsoft for having the gall to assist our military and help to make it stronger than the military forces of those who want to kill us. On the right, there are calls to fire them all.
Both of these perspectives are contrary to the ideologies they allegedly serve.
To the left, I would say advancements in America’s military technology is one of the most important things that prevent MORE wars from happening around the world. The notion that giving the United States a military advantage through technology will somehow kill or oppress more people is ludicrous. As out EIC noted:
Their heart is in the right place, but they are shortsighted. Advancing America's military technology prevents war, takes Americans further from harm's way, and maintains our weapons quality advantage that keeps much of the world at peace. Without it, war would be more rampant. https://t.co/W4J8iIMWEK
— JD Rucker (@JDRucker) February 25, 2019
To conservatives calling for these people to be fired, I would remind you of the need for discussions to happen outside of the organized labor arena. A group of employees’ ability to communicate their dissatisfaction with assignments, work use, and company direction is necessary to maintain a proper relationship. It’s when these relationships deteriorate that unions pop up, consolidating power and often holding companies hostage.
Moreover, this is an educational moment. To simply “fire everyone who doesn’t submit to the demands of their employer” may be well within Microsoft’s rights, but calling for it based on a letter in a Tweet is the type of lack of empathy that leftists often accuse conservatives of displaying. Let’s not play into their stereotypes.
It isn’t an unreasonable expectation for one’s work to not be used by the military, especially when the work was already done before the military contract was unveiled. Therefore, it’s up to Microsoft to work with these employees and make them understand the value of saving human lives that comes from such work. It’s contrary to their surface-level logic, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be taught to understand the situation with more clarity.
The U.S. military needs this technology to help keep us above the rest of the world. Microsoft is doing well to assist. Now they must educate their employees to the life-saving applications of their work instead of focusing on the risks involved.