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Microsoft, which has come under fire for a U.S. government contract that was said to involve facial recognition software, says it will more carefully consider contracts in this area and urged lawmakers to regulate the use of such artificial intelligence to prevent abuse.

The company, one of the key makers of software capable of recognizing individual faces, says it will take steps to make those systems less prone to bias; develop new public principles to govern the technology; and will move more deliberately to sell its software and expertise in the area. While Microsoft noted that the tech industry bears responsibility for its products, the company argued that government action is also needed.

"The only effective way to manage the use of technology by a government is for the government proactively to manage this use itself," Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith said Friday in a blog post. "And if there are concerns about how a technology will be deployed more broadly across society, the only way to regulate this broad use is for the government to do so. This in fact is what we believe is needed todaya government initiative to regulate the proper use of facial recognition technology, informed first by a bipartisan and expert commission."

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