Saturday, February 23, 2019

It’s Tough Being the Center of the Universe These Days

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve probably cursed Microsoft more than most normally well-adjusted adults.

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And I think that Microsoft defines the situation antitrust laws were written to address. Still, there’s a reason Corporate Boards run public companies not employees. And this is it: Microsoft Workers' Letter Demands Company Drop $479 Million HoloLens Military Contract.

The workers object to the company taking a $479 million contract last year to supply tech for the military’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System, or IVAS. Under the project, Microsoft, the maker of the HoloLens augmented reality headset, could eventually provide more than 100,000 headsets designed for combat and training in the military. The Army has described the project as a way to “increase lethality by enhancing the ability to detect, decide and engage before the enemy.”

“We are alarmed that Microsoft is working to provide weapons technology to the US Military, helping one country’s government ‘increase lethality’ using tools we built,” the workers write in the letter, addressed to CEO Satya Nadella and president Brad Smith. “We did not sign up to develop weapons, and we demand a say in how our work is used.”

My advice to these workers: read your contract. Employees seldom, even in tech, get the right to proceeds from the work they perform and are paid for by their employer. Nor have I ever seen an employment contract that allows the employee to determine what work their employer is allowed to do. But never mind that, these techy snowflakes, because of their very special skills (they code) believe they have the right to determine what their employer does for a living:

“Intent to harm is not an acceptable use of our technology,” it reads. The workers are demanding the company cancel the contract, stop developing any weapons technology, create a public policy committing to not build weapons technology, and appoint an external ethics review board to enforce the policy.

Life among the snowflakes is not easy.

Related imageSnowflakes: they think - despite all evidence to the contrary – they will not melt in the ever-expanding, over-heating universe they believe in

I guess these employees (I wonder how many of them are here on a H-1B visa) would prefer to leave such technology development to China and Russia, places unhindered by utopian technology standards. I would also like to remind the Microsoft snowflakes that they do have the ultimate say in “how their work is used.”  They are not indentured servants, they are free to seek employment elsewhere, someplace that embraces their high moral and ethical standards.

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Damn, it’s tough being the center of the universe these days.

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