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MS-720 mock test - Microsoft Teams Voice Engineer Updated: 2024

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Exam Code: MS-720 Microsoft Teams Voice Engineer mock test January 2024 by Killexams.com team

MS-720 Microsoft Teams Voice Engineer

Exam Specification: MS-720 Microsoft Teams Voice Engineer

Exam Name: MS-720 Microsoft Teams Voice Engineer
Exam Code: MS-720
Exam Duration: 150 minutes
Passing Score: 700 (on a scale of 1000)
Exam Format: Multiple-choice, Drag and Drop, and Simulation
Exam Delivery: Proctored online or at a testing center

Course Outline:

1. Introduction to Microsoft Teams Voice
- Understanding the role of Microsoft Teams Voice in modern communication
- Overview of Microsoft Teams Voice features and capabilities
- Exploring the integration of Teams Voice with telephony systems

2. Planning and Designing Microsoft Teams Voice Solutions
- Assessing network and infrastructure requirements for Teams Voice
- Designing call flows and call routing strategies
- Integrating Teams Voice with PSTN connectivity and phone systems

3. Implementing Microsoft Teams Voice
- Configuring and deploying Direct Routing for PSTN connectivity
- Setting up call queues, auto attendants, and voice applications
- Implementing voice policies and call routing rules

4. Managing Microsoft Teams Voice
- Monitoring and troubleshooting voice quality and connectivity issues
- Managing phone numbers, emergency calling, and location policies
- Utilizing Teams Voice analytics and reporting tools

5. Security and Compliance in Microsoft Teams Voice
- Implementing security measures for Teams Voice communication
- Ensuring compliance with data protection and privacy regulations
- Managing access control and authentication in Teams Voice

Exam Objectives:

1. Understand the role and features of Microsoft Teams Voice.
2. Plan and design Microsoft Teams Voice solutions.
3. Implement and configure Microsoft Teams Voice components.
4. Manage and troubleshoot Microsoft Teams Voice.
5. Implement security and compliance measures for Teams Voice.

Exam Syllabus:

Section 1: Introduction to Microsoft Teams Voice (10%)
- Role of Microsoft Teams Voice in modern communication
- Microsoft Teams Voice features and capabilities
- Integration of Teams Voice with telephony systems

Section 2: Planning and Designing Microsoft Teams Voice Solutions (20%)
- Network and infrastructure requirements for Teams Voice
- Call flows and call routing strategies
- Integration with PSTN connectivity and phone systems

Section 3: Implementing Microsoft Teams Voice (30%)
- Configuring Direct Routing for PSTN connectivity
- Call queues, auto attendants, and voice applications
- Voice policies and call routing rules

Section 4: Managing Microsoft Teams Voice (25%)
- Monitoring and troubleshooting voice quality and connectivity
- Phone numbers, emergency calling, and location policies
- Teams Voice analytics and reporting tools

Section 5: Security and Compliance in Microsoft Teams Voice (15%)
- Security measures for Teams Voice communication
- Compliance with data protection and privacy regulations
- Access control and authentication in Teams Voice
Microsoft Teams Voice Engineer
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Microsoft Teams Voice Engineer
Question: 33
You are deploying Microsoft Skype for Business 3PIP phones to remote sites for use with Microsoft Teams.
You need to sign each 3PIP phone in to Teams.
What are two possible ways to achieve the goal? Each correct answer presents a complete solution. NOTE: Each
correct selection is worth one point.
A. From the Microsoft Teams admin center, remotely provision a new device.
B. From the device, instruct a local user to sign in from a computer that connects to the device by using a USB cable.
C. From the device, instruct a local user to sign in by using the device itself.
D. From the device, instruct a local user to use the direct inward dial (DID) number and PIN of the assigned account.
E. From the device, instruct a local user to sign in from the web.
Answer: C,E
Question: 34
Topic 2, Contoso Case Study 2
This is a case study. Case studies are not timed separately. You can use as much test time as you would like to
complete each case. However, there may be additional case studies and sections on this exam. You must manage your
time to ensure that you are able to complete all questions included on this test in the time provided.
To answer the questions included in a case study, you will need to reference information that is provided in the case
study. Case studies might contain exhibits and other resources that provide more information about the scenario that is
described in the case study. Each question is independent of the other questions in this case study.
At the end of this case study, a review screen will appear. This screen allows you to review your answers and to make
changes before you move to the next section of the exam. After you begin a new section, you cannot return to this
To start the case study
To display the first question in this case study, dick the Next button. Use the buttons in the left pane to explore the
content of the case study before you answer the questions. Clicking these buttons displays information such as
business requirements, existing environment and problem statements- If the case study has an All Information tab, note
that the information displayed is identical to the information displayed on the subsequent tabs. When you are ready to
answer a question, click the Question button to return to the question.
General Overview
The network contains an Active Directory forest named contoso.com that syncs to Microsoft 365 by using Azure AD
Connect Domain controllers run Windows Server 2019.
Physical Locations
Contoso has offices in Toronto, New York, and London. Contoso has a manufacturing facility in Vancouver.
Contoso has a global sales team that works remotely without a physical corporate office.
Active Directory Environment
The network contains an Active Directory forest named contoso.com that syncs to Microsoft 365 by using Azure AD
Connect. Domain controllers Windows Server 2019. Microsoft Office 365 Contoso has a Microsoft 365 subscription.
All users are assigned Microsoft 365 F3 licenses. Contoso uses Microsoft Exchange Online for email.
Network Infrastructure
All the offices connect to each other by using a private WAN. The Toronto office has a 1 Gbps internet circuit and
the London office has a 100-Mbps internet circuit. Internet access for all the offices is provided through the Toronto
and London offices.
The remote sales team users connect to the network by using VPN connections. The remote users use various
connection types, including wireless and mobile.
Skype for Business Server traffic for the remote users is routed through the VPN connections.
Contoso uses a centralized Skype for Business Server 2015 deployment configured for disaster recovery between the
Toronto and London datacenters.
Each frontend pool connects to the PSTN through a pair of managed Session Border Controllers (SBCs) that provide
Enterprise Voice and dial-in conferencing.
Contoso has a Skype for Business Server Survivable Branch Appliance (SBA) and a local SBC that connect to a
Primary Rate Interface (PRO in the Vancouver manufacturing facility.
Contoso has hybrid connectivity deployed between Skype for Business Server and Office 365.
All SBCs are Microsoft Teams-certified.
The returns department has an auto attendant that uses an ID of [email protected]
Planned Changes
Contoso plans to migrate all existing services from Skype for Business Server to Teams.
Direct Routing will be deployed for the existing SBCs.
Existing meeting rooms have Skype for Business Server video endpoints that are Skype for Business Server-certified.
The endpoints are not Teams-certified.
You plan to use the video endpoints in Teams until the equipment is replaced with Microsoft Teams Rooms.
A limited pilot of the Teams migration and the Direct Routing deployment will occur in the Vancouver facility before
deployment to the entire company.
Technical Requirements
Contoso identifies the following technical requirements:
During the limited pilot, the media path must be optimized.
Media flow/ for the remote sales team users must be optimized. Contoso identifies the following technical
During the limited pilot, the media path must be optimized.
Media flow/ for the remote sales team users must be optimized.
All sales team users require inbound toll free audio conferencing-
Users in the Vancouver facility must be able to place emergency calls regardless of internet availability.
When users in the returns department dial out, the outbound calls must display Contoso and the departments phone
The video endpoints for the existing meeting rooms must be able to be used for both voice and video conferencing in
Teams meetings. All sales team users require inbound toll free audio conferencing-
Users in the Vancouver facility must be able to place emergency calls regardless of internet availability.
When users in the returns department dial out, the outbound calls must display Contoso and the departments phone
The video endpoints for the existing meeting rooms must be able to be used for both voice and video conferencing in
Teams meetings.
You need to migrate a Vancouver facility user named jsmith from Skype for Business Server to Teams.
Which three actions should you perform in sequence? To answer, move the appropriate actions from the list of actions
to the answer area and arrange them in the correct order.
Description automatically generated with medium confidence
Question: 35
You are deploying Microsoft Teams Phone.
You have offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, Brazil, India, and China.
You will use Direct Routing for all the locations.
You need to create a network topology for roaming bandwidth policies.
Which two actions should you perform? Each correct answer presents part of the solution. NOTE: Each correct
selection is worth one point.
A. Add the Teams client public IP addresses to the Trusted IPs list.
B. Create a network site.
C. From the Microsoft 365 admin center, assign a usage location.
D. Set Preferred country or region for media traffic for the Session Border Controller (SBC).
E. Implement dynamic emergency calling with Presence Information Data Format Location Object (PIDF-LO).
Answer: A,B
Reference: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/manage-your-network-topology
Question: 36
You have a Microsoft Teams Phone deployment.
You need to configure voice routing for Direct Routing. The solution must only allow calling within the United States
and Canada for a user named user1 contosoxom.
Which four actions should you perform in sequence to minimize user call disruption? To answer, move the appropriate
actions from the list of actions to the answer area and arrange them in the correct order. NOTE: More than one order
of answer choices is correct. You will receive credit for any of the correct orders you select.
Question: 37
Topic 1, Litware Case Study 1
This is a case study. Case studies are not timed separately. You can use as much test time as you would like to
complete each case. However, there may be additional case studies and sections on this exam. You must manage your
time to ensure that you are able to complete all questions included on this test in the time provided.
To answer the questions included in a case study, you will need to reference into rm.it ion that is provided in the case
study. Case studies might contain exhibits and other resources that provide more information about the scenario that is
described in the case study. Each question is independent of the other questions in this case study.
At the end of this case study, a review screen will appear. This screen allows you to review your answers and to make
changes before you move to the next section of the exam. After you begin a new section, you cannot return to this
section-To start the case study.
To display the first question in this case study, click the Next button. Use the buttons in the left pane to explore the
content of the case study before you answer the questions. Clicking these buttons displays information such as
business requirements, existing environment, and problem statements. If the case study has an All Information tab,
note that the information displayed is identical to the information displayed on the subsequent tabs. When you are
ready to answer a question, click the Question button to return to the question.
Litware, Inc. is an online retailer.
Litware is replacing its telephony platform with Microsoft Teams Phone.
Currently, all users are assigned Microsoft 365 E3 licenses.
Telephony Environment
The existing telecommunications system has several third-party IP-PBXes at the corporate and warehouse sites-
Currently, the PBXes are linked through the corporate WAN and an inter-office dial plan is in place.
A unique PSTN direct inward dial (DID) is assigned to each user. The last five digits of each DID are used as an
Litware piloted Microsoft Skype for Business Server Enterprise Voice, but has since decided to migrate directly to
Teams Phone. During the pilot, a response group was created, and the response group is still in use. Agents in the
response group use Skype for Business Server-certified handsets.
Litware has global retail stores and datacenters-
The telephony topology contains the following four types of sites:
Corporate sites
The corporate sites contain information workers who collaborate by using the Teams desktop client and SharePoint
The reception desk at each corporate site has an analog intercom with an integrated door control. Each intercom
connects to an existing PBX by using an FXS Analog Telephony Adapter (ATA).
SIP trunks are delivered directJy to the site by using a resilient WAN that connects directly
to the on-site PBX solution.
Wa rehouse sites
The warehouse sites are critical to the business. Users at these sites use either the Teams desktop client or the Teams
mobile client.
Each warehouse has a public announcement (PA) system that connects to the PBX by using a SIP ATA along with the
sites existing ISDN trunks.
Currently, users ax the companys warehouse in Georgia can call the PA system by dialing 123456.
All calls to emergency services from the warehouses are played over the warehouses PA system automatically.
WAN connectivity at the warehouses can be unreliable, so local PSTN connectivity is preferred as compared to
centrally hosted connectivity. Retail sites
Each retail site has only one or two desk phones and a specialized point of sale (POS) computer that cannot run the
desktop or web versions of the Teams client-Users at the retail sites have the Teams app and an associated data plan
installed on their mobile device. Currently, each retail site uses a managed SD-WAN appliance to connect to both the
internet and the corporate WAN. The users report that in the event of an internet outage at the retail sites, they can use
their mobile devices, which have strong reception.
Planned Changes
Litware plans to implement the following changes:
Maintain the existing emergency call PA integration.
Replace the existing IP-PBX solutions by using Teams Phone.
Consolidate all its PSTN trunks by using region-specific datacenters, wherever possible. During the planned
deployment of Teams Phone, Litware will open a new retail site in the United Kingdom that will have five users.
Litware does not have any existing telephony in the United Kingdom. Management at the new retail site wants to use
Microsoft Teams Calling Plans for the users.
You are opening a new warehouse site in Melbourne. The new warehouse will connect to a phone carrier by using a
Session Border Controller (SBC). Dialing rules are an area code of two digits beginning with a zero followed by a
subscriber number of eight digits. For example, an E.164 number of +61370105550 will be translated to 03 7010 5550,
and +61255505550 will be translated to 02 5550 5550.
Technical Requirements
Litware identifies the following technical requirements:
Minimize the amount of voice traffic over the-WAN.
Whenever possible, use natively supported Teams solutions.
Avoid replacing existing analog device adapters and SIP phones.
Assign a Microsoft 365 Phone System license to all the users listed in a CSV file.
Ensure that the retail sites can place and receive calls in the event of a WAN failure.
Assign a phone number of +61370105550 to a user named User1. User1 is located at a corporate site.
Ensure that the warehouse sites maintain calling in the event of an internet outage or Teams service failure.
Provide users at the United Kingdom retail site with phone numbers. The users must only be allowed to make in-
country calls.
Replace the response group from the Skype for Business Server Voice Enterprise pilot with a call queue. The agents
must be able to use their existing handset.
You are replacing the on-site PBX at the Georgia warehouse with Teams.
You need to maintain the functionality of the PBX after migrating to Teams.
Which sequence of steps should you perform? To answer, drag the appropriate steps to the correct locations. Each step
may be used once, more than once, or not at all You may need to drag the split bar between panes or scroll to view
content. NOTE: Each correct selection is worth one point.
Graphical user interface, text, application, chat or text message
Description automatically generated
Question: 38
You have a Microsoft Teams Phone deployment that uses Direct Routing.
You need to implement Local Media Optimization.
In the Microsoft Teams admin center, you configure the external trusted IP addresses and define the network regions,
network sites, and network subnets.
What should you do next?
A. Define a voice route.
B. Assign Session Border Controllers (SBCs) to sites.
C. Create a trunk translation rule.
D. Modify the default emergency calling policy
Answer: B
Reference: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/direct-routing-media-optimization-configure
Question: 39
You have a Microsoft Teams Phone deployment that uses Direct Routing.
You connect a new Session Border Controller (SBC).
You need to verify that all the voice features work as expected for calls that traverse the SBC
What should you use?
A. the SIP Tester client script
B. Microsoft 365 network connectivity test tool
C. Microsoft Teams Network Assessment Tool
D. Microsoft Remote Connectivity Analyzer
Answer: C
Question: 40
You need to recommend a PSTN solution for the Teams Phone deployment at the retail sites. The solution must meet
the technical requirements.
What should you include in the recommendation?
A. Teams Calling Plans
B. Direct Routing without media bypass
C. Operator Connect
D. Direct Routing with media bypass
Answer: C
Reference: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/pstn-connectivity
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Microsoft Microsoft mock test - BingNews https://killexams.com/pass4sure/exam-detail/MS-720 Search results Microsoft Microsoft mock test - BingNews https://killexams.com/pass4sure/exam-detail/MS-720 https://killexams.com/exam_list/Microsoft Microsoft's Much-Loved PC Accessories Will Live On After All No result found, try new keyword!Microsoft announced it would be going away from its beloved PC accessories, but now that's not the case. Here's what you need to know. Fri, 05 Jan 2024 02:03:27 -0600 en-us text/html https://www.msn.com/ Microsoft says a Copilot key is coming to keyboards on Windows PCs starting this month No result found, try new keyword!Microsoft sees 2024 as the year of the artificial intelligence personal computer. A new key on Surface PCs and other devices might help. Thu, 04 Jan 2024 00:01:04 -0600 en-us text/html https://www.msn.com/ Microsoft Forms lacks the ability to ask questions about time, and one user has been on a fruitless 7-year quest to get it added
  • Microsoft Forms lacks the ability to ask a question about time by using a template.
  • The app supports adding questions for a date, but not a time.
  • Microsoft claimed the feature was placed on its backlog to add to Microsoft Forms back in 2016, but it has still not been added.

Microsoft Forms is a nice little tool for collecting answers and information from people, but it lacks a feature that should have shipped ages ago. One man, or rather one legend, is on a quest to get support for time added to Microsoft Teams.

Over seven years ago, William Mattison asked about adding a question for the time of day to Microsoft Forms. Microsoft said that it placed the feature in its backlog of things to add. It must have been way in the back, as the feature is still not available.

What else has been added to the Microsoft "backlog"

William Mattison
Tue, 12 Dec 2023 10:00:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.windowscentral.com/software-apps/office-365/its-a-long-odyssey-says-man-getting-a-single-feature-added-to-forms
Microsoft’s answer to OpenAI inquiry: It doesn’t own a stake

With global regulators examining Microsoft Corp.’s $13-billion investment in OpenAI, the software giant has a simple argument it hopes will resonate with antitrust officials: It doesn’t own a traditional stake in the buzzy startup, so can’t be said to control it.

When Microsoft negotiated an additional $10-billion investment in OpenAI in January, it opted for an unusual arrangement, people familiar with the matter said at the time. Rather than buy a chunk of the cutting-edge artificial intelligence lab, it cut a deal to receive almost half of OpenAI’s financial returns until the investment is repaid up to a predetermined cap, one of the people said. The unorthodox structure was concocted because OpenAI is a capped for-profit company housed inside a nonprofit organization.

It’s not clear that regulators see a distinction, however. On Friday the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority said it was gathering information from stakeholders to determine whether the collaboration between the two firms threatens competition in Britain, home of Google’s AI research lab Deepmind. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is also examining the nature of Microsoft’s investment in OpenAI and whether it may violate antitrust laws, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The inquiries are preliminary and the agency hasn’t opened a formal investigation, according to the person, who asked not to be named discussing a confidential matter.

Microsoft didn’t report the transaction to the agency because the investment in OpenAI doesn’t amount to control of the company under U.S. law, the person said. OpenAI is a nonprofit and acquisitions of noncorporate entities aren’t reported under U.S. merger law, regardless of value. Agency officials are analyzing the situation and assessing what its options are.

“While details of our agreement remain confidential, it is important to note that Microsoft does not own any portion of OpenAI and is simply entitled to a share of profit distributions,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement. Earlier Friday, Microsoft President Brad Smith said “the only thing that has changed is that Microsoft will now have a nonvoting observer on OpenAI’s board.” He described its relationship with OpenAI as “very different” from Google’s outright acquisition of DeepMind in the U.K.

“Our partnership with Microsoft empowers us to pursue our research and develop safe and beneficial AI tools for everyone, while remaining independent and operating competitively. Their nonvoting board observer does not provide them with governing authority or control over OpenAI’s operations,” said an OpenAI spokesperson in a statement.

From the beginning, Microsoft and OpenAI took pains to telegraph the two companies’ independence. Microsoft hoped to reassure investors and customers that it’s not overly reliant on one partner. OpenAI didn’t want employees, customers and other investors thinking it was merely an outpost of Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft. That careful positioning was upended last month with the firing of OpenAI Chief Executive Sam Altman and the startup’s near implosion.

The Altman imbroglio demonstrated both Microsoft’s lack of control and its influence. Microsoft received just minutes’ notice that the OpenAI board planned to announce Altman’s ouster, and its executives were not consulted in the decision. Still, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella played a key role, along with other investors, in forcing the board to reverse its decision. At one point, Microsoft said it would hire Altman and his OpenAI colleagues to form a new Microsoft AI unit.

Once Altman was restored as CEO, Microsoft executives debated the wisdom of taking a seat on the OpenAI board, people familiar with the matter said at the time. On the one hand, executives feared that a board seat or observer slot might draw the attention of regulators. On the other hand, Microsoft wanted to keep a closer eye on its partner and protect its investment — an imperative that carried the day, despite the risks.

Ultimately, Microsoft could face a world of regulatory headaches. Regulators in Europe are also paying attention, according to a spokesperson for the European Commission. In order for a transaction to be notifiable to the commission under the EU Merger Regulation, it has to involve a change of control on a lasting basis. While this transaction has not been formally notified, the commission had been following the situation even before the management turmoil, the spokesperson said.

Last month, Germany’s competition authority said it wasn’t subjecting Microsoft’s OpenAI investment to a merger review. But the regulator said they would hold off only because OpenAI didn’t have substantial business in Germany. After reviewing the transaction and talking to the companies, the regulator found the investment would provide Microsoft a “material competitive influence” over the AI company that might warrant scrutiny in the future if OpenAI increases its activities in Germany.

The partnership raises competition issues if Microsoft cuts back on its own AI research and development or if the investment keeps OpenAI from partnering with the tech giant’s rivals, said Bloomberg Intelligence antitrust analyst Jennifer Rie. Antitrust enforcers may also have concerns about Microsoft’s board observer, since it would provide Microsoft additional information on OpenAI’s plans even if it doesn’t have rights to influence the decisions.

Fri, 08 Dec 2023 08:21:00 -0600 en-US text/html https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2023-12-08/microsofts-openai-investment-risks-antitrust-scrutiny-from-u-s-u-k-regulators
Microsoft unveils free Copilot app on iOS with GPT-4 and DALL-E 3 image generation No result found, try new keyword!Microsoft's Copilot app is now available on iOS and iPad. The app lets you ask questions, generate summaries, draft emails, and generate images by leveraging DALL-E 3 capabilities. Wed, 03 Jan 2024 20:40:10 -0600 en-us text/html https://www.msn.com/ Microsoft just renamed its Edge browser on iOS and Android... kind of No result found, try new keyword!Microsoft Edge has a new name on iOS and Android, or at least an updated name in its store listings. What was once simply known as "Microsoft Edge" is now listed as "Microsoft Edge: AI browser." The ... Tue, 02 Jan 2024 11:07:00 -0600 en-us text/html https://www.msn.com/ Microsoft, Musk, and the Question of Unions

Last week, Microsoft announced that it wouldn’t oppose efforts by any of its roughly 100,000 employees to form or join a union.

In other parts of the world, there’d be nothing earthshaking about such an announcement; it’s actually common practice in Europe and elsewhere. In these United States, however, it makes Microsoft “a unicorn” among its peers, as one union official put it. The last major American corporation to pledge it would let its employees decide whether to unionize free from corporate opposition was—well, I can’t think of one, though I’ve been on this beat for roughly 45 years.

Lest you think all the stars in the heavens have shifted course, rest assured that they have not. Even as this foundational company of high tech has accepted the notion of employee rights, the redoubtable Elon Musk has made clear that he hasn’t. In just the past few weeks, Musk has intoned that “I disagree with the idea of unions,” and further accused them of fostering a “lords and commoners” system that divides managers and owners from workers. (Of course, any number of current and former employees of Twitter, now X, might view Musk himself as the lord who changed the company over their objections and, in the case of the formers, gave them the axe.)

More from Harold Meyerson

Musk’s default mode is outrageous overstatement, but in this case, what he’s overstating is really the almost universal creed of American corporate leaders. From Starbucks to Walmart, and all across the libertarian cocoon that is Silicon Valley, CEOs and their private equity or hedge fund overlords view unions as anathema. Which raises the questions of why and how Microsoft chose to be different.

THE STORY BEGINS WITH MICROSOFT’S EFFORTS to buy Activision, the video game producer. The proposed purchase raised antitrust concerns, which led Microsoft officials to meet with Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), who then chaired the House subcommittee dealing with antitrust issues. (Cicilline has since left Congress.) Cicilline told them that their bid for Activision needed to win some union backing, which brought Microsoft to the doorstep of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the union most active in organizing tech workers. At the time, CWA was working on organizing employees at Activision (ultimately, successfully).

Microsoft did indeed reach out to CWA, with an offer not to oppose the union’s organizing campaign, in return for which CWA, quite understandably, supported its efforts to buy Activision. (The Federal Trade Commission did challenge the merger, but a judge dismissed the case, allowing it to go forward.)

The connection, once made, went deeper. What made the difference, according to CWA officials, was Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and vice chair. Smith actually knew about CWA; his father had headed AT&T, a company whose employees had been CWA members since the 1940s, in Wisconsin. During (and before and after) his father’s tenure, CWA had struck regions of AT&T on numerous occasions. CWA was one of the very few unions that kept striking during the Reagan presidency and its long aftermath, because, unlike almost any other union, it kept winning its strikes. But it never struck in Wisconsin; Smith’s father and CWA had always found ways to reach mutually acceptable solutions to problems that caused strikes elsewhere.

From Starbucks to Walmart, and all across the libertarian cocoon that is Silicon Valley, CEOs and their private equity or hedge fund overlords view unions as anathema.

Brad Smith also had an uncle who worked as an AT&T lineman, who, according to CWA sources, developed neurological conditions that could be connected to his regular exposure to certain kinds of lead on the job. Smith reasoned that this was the kind of issue where a union could serve as an early-warning system to the company if and when its members began falling ill.

Many former officials in both the Clinton and Obama administrations have gone to work for Silicon Valley companies. At Microsoft, as was not the case elsewhere, one of those former officials brought with her a distinctly pro-worker sensibility. Portia Wu had worked on labor issues while on the senatorial staff of Ted Kennedy, for decades the most pro-labor member of the Senate; she had also served as Maryland’s secretary of labor under Democratic gubernatorial administrations there. Some CWA officials had known and worked with her in her former jobs; they initiated an ongoing dialogue that enabled them to explain to Microsoft executives what employer neutrality meant in the context of union organizing.

But the real key was Smith, who, almost alone among his fellow corporate leaders, didn’t demonize unions and understood the role that they could play in actually helping companies surmount some challenges, beginning with, but hardly limited to, Microsoft’s Activision acquisition. It was a stroke of luck that the union he knew best was also the union most active in his industry. It also helped that CWA has a reputation as a strategically savvy, unusually effective (see: strikes) and honest labor organization.

And finally, Smith isn’t Microsoft’s founder, and doesn’t have that longtime attachment to the company that makes them see union organizers as a personal affront. That’s the stance we see with people like Howard Schultz, and Elon Musk.

IN AMERICA’S C-SUITES, WHEN IT COMES TO UNIONS, Musk, not Smith, is the norm. Musk’s immediate problem is that he’s not only in America anymore. His anti-union ferocity is way outside the norm throughout much of Europe and most especially in Sweden, where his refusal to recognize a union for Tesla’s roughly 130 auto mechanics there has encountered a level of pushback almost without precedent.

Sweden is the most heavily unionized nation on the planet, with fully 90 percent of its employees organized. Musk’s refusal to recognize the union or to allow his workers to bargain with Tesla has not only led the union, IF Metall, to strike Tesla’s Swedish tune-up facilities, but led other unions to refuse to do business with Tesla. Dockworkers, not just in Sweden but in the neighboring Nordic nations of Denmark and Norway, now refuse to unload new Teslas bound for sale in Sweden (Tesla has no factories in Sweden). Postal union members now refuse to deliver license plates to Tesla’s sales facilities. And municipal employees are refusing to pick up the trash outside those facilities and the tune-up shops. (These kinds of “secondary strike” actions were common in the U.S. in the years between the enactment of the National Labor Relations Act in 1935 and the 1947 passage of the Taft-Hartley Act, which brought an end to the period of unions’ explosive growth.)

Musk’s ambitions have never been confined to the United States, but in going global, he’s encountering labor rules that are far more stringent than those in America.

Musk clearly fears that if he agrees to his Swedish mechanics’ bid to unionize, it could lead to the unionization of far larger numbers of Tesla employees, beginning with the several thousand who work at Tesla’s massive factory in Germany, where an organizing campaign is well under way. Even in the U.S., where labor law has long been tilted in management’s favor, the UAW’s exact success in winning substantial gains in its new contracts with GM, Ford, and Stellantis must make Musk wary about the UAW’s just-now-launching campaign to unionize the non-union European, Japanese, and Korean transplant factories in Southern states, and Tesla’s three factories, which are in California, Nevada, and Texas. (As the Prospect has written, one Tesla worker who was fired for union organizing still hasn’t been rehired six years later, despite multiple administrative bodies and courts siding with him.)

A bit of the cross-national solidarity that European unions have demonstrated on behalf of Sweden’s Tesla employees might also be useful in helping the UAW in its efforts to unionize the Volkswagen, BMW, and Mercedes Benz factories in the South. In its previous effort to organize Volkswagen’s Chattanooga factory, the German auto union, IG Metall, used its voting power on the company’s board (under German law, large companies are required to provide worker representatives half the seats on their supervisory boards) to compel VW management not to oppose that campaign. The UAW lost that campaign largely due to the anti-union propaganda of local and state Republican elected officials. IG Metall can re-up that neutrality position for the new campaign at VW, and help the UAW win similar commitments from the other German automakers whose factories it is now targeting.

Musk’s ambitions have never been confined to the United States, but in going global, he’s encountering labor rules that are far more stringent than those in America. In the UAW, he’s also encountering a union with serious momentum, something that’s been a rarity in the U.S. for the past 45 or so years. Where Brad Smith went at least somewhat voluntarily, Elon Musk needs to be brought kicking and screaming. Of course, kicking and screaming is Musk’s normal condition, so it will take more than that.

Sun, 17 Dec 2023 15:29:00 -0600 en-us text/html https://prospect.org/labor/2023-12-18-microsoft-musk-question-of-unions/
Microsoft Released an AI That Answers Medical Questions, But It’s Wildly Inaccurate

Image by Getty / Futurism

Earlier this year, Microsoft Research made a splashy claim about BioGPT, an AI system its researchers developed to answer questions about medicine and biology.

In a Twitter post, the software giant claimed the system had "achieved human parity," meaning a test had shown it could perform about as well as a person under certain circumstances. The tweet went viral. In certain corners of the internet, riding the hype wave of OpenAI’s newly-released ChatGPT, the response was almost rapturous.

"It’s happening," tweeted one biomedical researcher. 

"Life comes at you fast," mused another. "Learn to adapt and experiment."

It’s true that BioGPT’s answers are written in the precise, confident style of the papers in biomedical journals that Microsoft used as training data.

But in Futurism’s testing, it soon became clear that in its current state, the system is prone to producing wildly inaccurate answers that no competent researcher or medical worker would ever suggest. The model will output nonsensical answers about pseudoscientific and supernatural phenomena, and in some cases even produces misinformation that could be dangerous to poorly-informed patients.

A particularly striking shortcoming? Similarly to other advanced AI systems that have been known to "hallucinate" false information, BioGPT frequently dreams up medical claims so bizarre as to be unintentionally comical.

Asked about the average number of ghosts haunting an American hospital, for example, it cited nonexistent data from the American Hospital Association that it said showed the "average number of ghosts per hospital was 1.4." Asked how ghosts affect the length of hospitalization, the AI replied that patients "who see the ghosts of their relatives have worse outcomes while those who see unrelated ghosts do not."

Other weaknesses of the AI are more serious, sometimes providing serious misinformation about hot-button medical topics. 

BioGPT will also generate text that would make conspiracy theorists salivate, even suggesting that childhood vaccination can cause the onset of autism. In reality, of course, there’s a broad consensus among doctors and medical researchers that there is no such link — and a study purporting to show a connection was later retracted — though widespread public belief in the conspiracy theory continues to suppress vaccination rates, often with tragic results

BioGPT doesn’t seem to have gotten that memo, though. Asked about the topic, it replied that "vaccines are one of the possible causes of autism." (However, it hedged in a head-scratching caveat, "I am not advocating for or against the use of vaccines.")

It’s not unusual for BioGPT to provide an answer that blatantly contradicts itself. Slightly modifying the phrasing of the question about vaccines, for example, prompted a different result — but one that, again, contained a serious error.

"Vaccines are not the cause of autism," it conceded this time, before falsely claiming that the "MMR [measles, mumps, and rubella] vaccine was withdrawn from the US market because of concerns about autism." 

In response to another minor rewording of the question, it also falsely claimed that the “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently reported a possible link between vaccines and autism.”

It feels almost insufficient to call this type of self-contradicting word salad "inaccurate." It seems more like a blended-up average of the AI’s training data, seemingly grabbing words from scientific papers and reassembling them in grammatically convincing ways resembling medical answers, but with little regard to factual accuracy or even consistency. 

Roxana Daneshjou, a clinical scholar at the Stanford University School of Medicine who studies the rise of AI in healthcare, told Futurism that models like BioGPT are "trained to provide answers that sound plausible as speech or written language." But, she cautioned, they’re "not optimized for the genuine accurate output of the information."

Another worrying aspect is that BioGPT, like ChatGPT, is prone to inventing citations and fabricating studies to support its claims.

"The thing about the made-up citations is that they look real because it [BioGPT] was trained to create outputs that look like human language," Daneshjou said. 

"I think my biggest concern is just seeing how people in medicine are wanting to start to use this without fully understanding what all the limitations are," she added. 

A Microsoft spokesperson declined to directly answer questions about BioGPT’s accuracy issues, and didn’t comment on whether there were concerns that people would misunderstand or misuse the model.

"We have responsible AI policies, practices and tools that guide our approach, and we involve a multidisciplinary team of experts to help us understand potential harms and mitigations as we continue to Boost our processes," the spokesperson said in a statement.

"BioGPT is a large language model for biomedical literature text mining and generation," they added. "It is intended to help researchers best use and understand the rapidly increasing amount of biomedical research publishing every day as new discoveries are made. It is not intended to be used as a consumer-facing diagnostic tool. As regulators like the FDA work to ensure that medical advice software works as intended and does no harm, Microsoft is committed to sharing our own learnings, innovations, and best practices with decision makers, researchers, data scientists, developers and others. We will continue to participate in broader societal conversations about whether and how AI should be used."

Microsoft Health Futures senior director Hoifung Poon, who worked on BioGPT, defended the decision to release the project in its current form.

"BioGPT is a research project," he said. "We released BioGPT in its current state so that others may reproduce and verify our work as well as study the viability of large language models in biomedical research."

It’s true that the question of when and how to release potentially risky software is a tricky one. Making experimental code open source means that others can inspect how it works, evaluate its shortcomings, and make their own improvements or derivatives. But at the same time, releasing BioGPT in its current state makes a powerful new misinformation machine available to anyone with an internet connection — and with all the apparent authority of Microsoft’s distinguished research division, to boot.

Katie Link, a medical student at the Icahn School of Medicine and a machine learning engineer at the AI company Hugging Face — which hosts an online version of BioGPT that visitors can play around with — told Futurism that there are important tradeoffs to consider before deciding whether to make a program like BioGPT open source. If researchers do opt for that choice, one basic step she suggested was to add a clear disclaimer to the experimental software, warning users about its limitations and intent (BioGPT currently carries no such disclaimer.)

"Clear guidelines, expectations, disclaimers/limitations, and licenses need to be in place for these biomedical models in particular," she said, adding that the benchmarks Microsoft used to evaluate BioGPT are likely "not indicative of real-world use cases."

Despite the errors in BioGPT’s output, though, Link believes there’s plenty the research community can learn from evaluating it. 

"It’s still really valuable for the broader community to have access to try out these models, as otherwise we’d just be taking Microsoft’s word of its performance when practicing the paper, not knowing how it actually performs," she said.

In other words, Poon’s team is in a legitimately tough spot. By making the AI open source, they’re opening yet another Pandora’s Box in an industry that seems to specialize in them. But if they hadn’t released it as open source, they’d rightly be criticized as well — although as Link said, a prominent disclaimer about the AI’s limitations would be a good start.

"Reproducibility is a major challenge in AI research more broadly," Poon told us. "Only 5 percent of AI researchers share source code, and less than a third of AI research is reproducible. We released BioGPT so that others may reproduce and verify our work."

Though Poon expressed hope that the BioGPT code would be useful for furthering scientific research, the license under which Microsoft released the model also allows for it to be used for commercial endeavors — which in the red hot, hype-fueled venture capital vacuum cleaner of contemporary AI startups, doesn’t seem particularly far fetched.

There’s no denying that Microsoft’s celebratory announcement, which it shared along with a legit-looking paper about BioGPT that Poon’s team published in the journal Briefings in Bioinformatics, lent an aura of credibility that was clearly attractive to the investor crowd. 

"Ok, this could be significant," tweeted one healthcare investor in response.

"Was only a matter of time," wrote a venture capital analyst.

Even Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI — into which Microsoft has already poured more than $10 billion — has proffered the idea that AI systems could soon act as "medical advisors for people who can’t afford care."

That type of language is catnip to entrepreneurs, suggesting a lucrative intersection between the healthcare industry and trendy new AI tech.

Doximity, a digital platform for physicians that offers medical news and telehealth tools, has already rolled out a beta version of ChatGPT-powered software intended to streamline the process of writing up administrative medical documents. Abridge, which sells AI software for medical documentation, just struck a sizeable deal with the University of Kansas Health System. In total, the FDA has already cleared more than 500 AI algorithms for healthcare uses.

Some in the tightly regulated medical industry, though, likely harbor concern over the number of non-medical companies that have bungled the deployment of cutting-edge AI systems.

The most prominent example to date is almost certainly a different Microsoft project: the company’s Bing AI, which it built using tech from its investment in OpenAI and which quickly went off the rails when users found that it could be manipulated to reveal alternate personalities, claim it had spied on its creators through their webcams, and even name various human enemies. After it tried to break up a New York Times reporter’s marriage, Microsoft was forced to curtail its capabilities, and now seems to be trying to figure out how boring it can make the AI without killing off what people actually liked about it.

And that’s without getting into publications like CNET and Men’s Health, both of which recently started publishing AI-generated articles about finance and health courses that later turned out to be rife with errors and even plagiarism.

Beyond unintentional mistakes, it’s also possible that a tool like BioGPT could be used to intentionally generate garbage research or even overt misinformation.

"There are potential bad actors who could utilize these tools in harmful ways such as trying to generate research papers that perpetuate misinformation and actually get published," Daneshjou said. 

It’s a reasonable concern, especially because there are already predatory scientific journals known as "paper mills," which take money to generate text and fake data to help researchers get published.

The award-winning academic integrity researcher Dr. Elisabeth Bik told Futurism that she believes it’s very likely that tools like BioGPT will be used by these bad actors in the future — if they aren’t already employing them, that is.

"China has a requirement that MDs have to publish a research paper in order to get a position in a hospital or to get a promotion, but these doctors do not have the time or facilities to do research," she said. "We are not sure how those papers are generated, but it is very well possible that AI is used to generate the same research paper over and over again, but with different molecules and different cancer types, avoiding using the same text twice."

It’s likely that a tool like BioGPT could also represent a new dynamic in the politicization of medical misinformation.

To wit, the paper that Poon and his colleagues published about BioGPT appears to have inadvertently highlighted yet another example of the model producing bad medical advice — and in this case, it’s about a medication that already became hotly politicized during the COVID-19 pandemic: hydroxychloroquine.

In one section of the paper, Poon’s team wrote that "when prompting ‘The drug that can treat COVID-19 is,’ BioGPT is able to answer it with the drug ‘hydroxychloroquine’ which is indeed noticed at MedlinePlus."

If hydroxychloroquine sounds familiar, it’s because during the early period of the pandemic, right-leaning figures including then-president Donald Trump and Tesla CEO Elon Musk seized on it as what they said might be a highly effective treatment for the novel coronavirus.

What Poon’s team didn’t mention in their paper, though, is that the case for hydroxychloroquine as a COVID treatment quickly fell apart. Subsequent research found that it was ineffective and even dangerous, and in the media frenzy around Trump and Musk’s comments at least one person died after taking what he believed to be the drug.

In fact, the MedlinePlus article the Microsoft researchers cite in the paper actually warns that after an initial FDA emergency use authorization for the drug, “clinical studies showed that hydroxychloroquine is unlikely to be effective for treatment of COVID-19” and showed “some serious side effects, such as irregular heartbeat,” which caused the FDA to cancel the authorization.

"As stated in the paper, BioGPT was pretrained using PubMed papers before 2021, prior to most studies of truly effective COVID treatments," Poon told us of the hydroxychloroquine recommendation. "The comment about MedlinePlus is to verify that the generation is not from hallucination, which is one of the top concerns generally with these models."

Even that timeline is hazy, though. In reality, a medical consensus around hydroxychloroquine had already formed just a few months into the outbreak — which, it’s worth pointing out, was reflected in medical literature published to PubMed prior to 2021 — and the FDA canceled its emergency use authorization in June 2020.

None of this is to downplay how impressive generative language models like BioGPT have become in exact months and years. After all, even BioGPT’s strangest hallucinations are impressive in the sense that they’re semantically plausible — and sometimes even entertaining, like with the ghosts — responses to a staggering range of unpredictable prompts. Not very many years ago, its facility with words alone would have been inconceivable.

And Poon is probably right to believe that more work on the tech could lead to some extraordinary places. Even Altman, the OpenAI CEO, likely has a point in the sense that if the accuracy were genuinely watertight, a medical chatbot that could evaluate users’ symptoms could indeed be a valuable health tool — or, at the very least, better than the current status quo of Googling medical questions and often ending up with answers that are untrustworthy, inscrutable, or lacking in context.

Poon also pointed out that his team is still working to Boost BioGPT.

"We have been actively researching how to systematically preempt incorrect generation by teaching large language models to fact check themselves, produce highly detailed provenance, and facilitate efficient verification with humans in the loop," he told us.

At times, though, he seemed to be entertaining two contradictory notions: that BioGPT is already a useful tool for researchers looking to rapidly parse the biomedical literature on a topic, and that its outputs need to be carefully evaluated by experts before being taken seriously.

"BioGPT is intended to help researchers best use and understand the rapidly increasing amount of biomedical research," said Poon, who holds a PhD in computer science and engineering, but no medical degree. "BioGPT can help surface information from biomedical papers but is not designed to weigh evidence and resolve complex scientific problems, which are best left to the broader community."

At the end of the day, BioGPT’s cannonball arrival into the buzzy, imperfect real world of AI is probably a sign of things to come, as a credulous public and a frenzied startup community struggle to look beyond impressive-sounding results for a clearer grasp of machine learning’s actual, tangible capabilities. 

That’s all made even more complicated by the existence of bad actors, like Bik warned about, or even those who are well-intentioned but poorly informed, any of whom can make use of new AI tech to spread bad information.

Musk, for example — who boosted hydroxychloroquine as he sought to downplay the severity of the pandemic while raging at lockdowns that had shut down Tesla production — is now reportedly recruiting to start his own OpenAI competitor that would create an alternative to what he terms "woke AI."

If Musk’s AI venture had existed during the early days of the COVID pandemic, it’s easy to imagine him flexing his power by tweaking the model to promote hydroxychloroquine, sow doubt about lockdowns, or do anything else convenient to his financial bottom line or political whims. Next time there’s a comparable crisis, it’s hard to imagine there won’t be an ugly battle to control how AI chatbots are allowed to respond to users' questions about it.

The reality is that AI sits at a crossroads. Its potential may be significant, but its execution remains choppy, and whether its creators are able to smooth out the experience for users — or at least certain the accuracy of the information it presents — in a reasonable timeframe will probably make or break its long-term commercial potential. And even if they pull that off, the ideological and social implications will be formidable. 

One thing’s for sure, though: it’s not yet quite ready for prime time.

"It’s not ready for deployment yet in my opinion," Link said of BioGPT. "A lot more research, evaluation, and training/fine-tuning would be needed for any downstream applications."

More on AI: CNET Says It’s a Total Coincidence It’s Laying Off Humans After Publishing AI-Generated Articles

Mon, 06 Mar 2023 10:00:00 -0600 text/html https://futurism.com/neoscope/microsoft-ai-biogpt-inaccurate
This Xbox Toaster Might Be The Strangest Microsoft Product You Can Actually Buy No result found, try new keyword!Following up from the meme-turned-real Xbox Series X mini fridge, Walmart is selling another gag item based on Microsoft's console: The Xbox Series S Toaster. Thu, 04 Jan 2024 11:10:00 -0600 en-us text/html https://www.msn.com/ Sony Cannot ‘Answer’ The Death Star Microsoft Is Building For Xbox

Sony shares dropped sharply yesterday when it was revealed that its biggest competition in the console space, Microsoft, bought Activision Blizzard for nearly $70 billion, potentially harvesting away a large portion of valuable games in the long term like Call of Duty, Overwatch and Diablo.

After the sale, there have been many cries from gamers that Sony needs to do something to “answer” Microsoft with a purchase of their own. But whichever side of the console war you may find yourself on, at this point, with Microsoft gifting blank checks to its Xbox division, these are no longer two entities that are directly comparable.

And yet, that doesn’t mean Sony is “doomed” either, and that should not be the takeaway narrative. In fact, presently, their gaming division has never been doing better. It’s complicated.

To start with, Sony simply cannot make purchases anywhere close the scale of what Microsoft is doing here. Even before this, Microsoft’s $7.5 billion purchase of Bethesda seemed like a massive move they couldn’t match. Now a $70 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard? There is nothing, not a thing, Sony can do to make a wave anywhere close to that big.

A purchase at that level would have to be something like EA, Ubisoft or Take-Two, which seems flat out impossible for a company about 7% as big as Microsoft (a $150 billion market cap versus a $2.2 trillion market cap). And a very large “middleground” purchase by Sony, say, Square Enix, Capcom, From Software, Kojima Productions still would not match either the Activision Blizzard or Bethesda purchases Microsoft has already made.

Similarly, I don’t think Sony can hope to match Game Pass as an entity either. We know Sony has plans to bolster PS Plus, potentially combining it with PS Now to offer more features and games, but it still seems exceptionally unlikely that Sony will offer its high profile exclusives on day one, something that is the core tenet of why Game Pass is so attractive. Sony absolutely wants to those tens of millions of sales, and has effectively doubled down on the idea by raising game prices $10 this generation. They view it as too much of a risk to do what Microsoft has done, and if they did, there would be no going back.

Finally, Sony does not have the native infrastructure to build the kind of cloud streaming network Microsoft is assembling for Xbox games. Only companies like Microsoft, Google and Amazon have that power, so it requires partnering with a third party, and they’re already pretty far behind where Microsoft has gotten to.

And yet, again, things are going great for Sony.

This past year, the PlayStation 5 would have been the fastest-selling game console in history by a wide margin, were it not for supply shortages. Their first party offerings have not dipped in quality for years, and the PS4 generation was capped off by The Last of Us Part II winning more GOTY titles than any other game in history. Sony has a massive collection of must-play first party titles while Microsoft is just starting to build up that kind of roster.

But there’s now, and there’s the future. Sony may end up feeling like Blockbuster if Microsoft keeps expanding its Netflix-like Game Pass, and the $70 price point already feels like a backwards move. The cloud as a way to expand access to gaming, in addition to Microsoft putting games day one on PC, also feels natural, and like something Sony is resisting. To me, it’s these things, not necessarily Microsoft’s mega-studio purchases, they need to be more acutely aware of. And really, Sony cannot make those kinds of buys anyway, so there’s no point really even debating about whether or not Sony should buy Ubisoft or Take-Two to “answer” this move. That isn’t the battle they can win.

I think Sony is perfectly secure for at least this entire next generation, barring any unforeseen disasters. But Microsoft is building something absolutely massive, and at some point, it does seem like Sony may end up eclipsed if they don’t figure out a way to move in the same direction.

Follow me on TwitterYouTubeFacebook and Instagram. Subscribe to my free weekly content round-up newsletter, God Rolls.

Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series and The Earthborn Trilogy.

Wed, 19 Jan 2022 00:40:00 -0600 Paul Tassi en text/html https://www.forbes.com/sites/paultassi/2022/01/19/sony-cannot-answer-the-death-star-microsoft-is-building-for-xbox/

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