Friday, 19 October, 2018

Google 'to end' Pentagon Artificial Intelligence project

Google draws up guidelines for its military AI following employee fury Google is working on ethical guidelines in the wake of military AI furore
Elsie Buchanan | 02 June, 2018, 21:05

Update: In response to backlash from Google employees, the company has chose to end its relationship with the Department of Defense after its current contract expires in 2019, as Gizmodo reports.

The petition signed by employees addressed this: "The argument that other firms, like Microsoft and Amazon, are also participating doesn't make this any less risky for Google". Google will not renew its contract with the Pentagon on its AI drone program.

If you're unfamiliar with Project Maven, formerly the Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team, it's been touted as a program to review drone footage.

"The two sets of emails reveal that Google's senior leadership was enthusiastically supportive of Project Maven - especially because it would set Google Cloud on the path to win larger Pentagon contracts - but deeply concerned about how the company's involvement would be perceived", Gizmodo reported. She said that the current contract expires in 2019 and won't be renewed, according to the report.

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As Wired recently pointed out, Project Maven is poised to expand-with or without Google.

About 4,000 Google staff members signed a letter to CEO Sundar Pichai urging the company to end the contract with the Department of Defense, while about a dozen employees resigned in protest, according to Gizmodo. For a tech company that heralded itself as one that values the views and perspectives of its employees, Google has worked to reduce protests without pivoting away from military partnerships. The system is called Maven, and a new report's surfaced suggesting that Google's made a decision to cease its involvement with it. The Outline has contacted Google for comment as to why there is not a similar ban on the military use of Google Earth. The company, however, remained cautious of this contract becoming public anxious about how people would perceive it. Microsoft, Amazon, and IBM are other tech giants competing for similar contracts. Development on Maven necessitated higher security authorizations for Google's cloud infrastructure, which, once granted, opened the door to billions of dollars worth of Pentagon contracts.

This would all be analyzed by Google AI software, allowing analysis of a city's data in "near-real time", according to Gizmodo.

"I don't know what would happen if the media starts picking up a theme that Google is secretly building AI weapons or AI technologies to enable weapons for the Defense industry".

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