Google won't renew its contract to develop AI for USA military drones

Daniel Fowler
June 2, 2018

And, despite the fact Google's change of heart isn't a promise to be ethical, but instead that it'll only work with the military on this particular project for another half a year or so, it should still come as good news to those who were opposed to its involvement in the first place.

The Google workers also noted the company's well-known former motto, "Don't be evil", warning that Project Maven "will irreparably damage Google's brand and its ability to compete for talent".

Google today internally revealed it would not seek to renew its contract with a Department of Defense AI program, called Project Maven, once the current contract ends.

The Pentagon program intends to use artificial intelligence to interpret video images.

For the past several weeks, Google has been embroiled in a scandal over a Department of Defense contract.

Google is dealing with the employee unrest stemming from the Project Maven contract. Weaponized AI is probably one of the most sensitized topics of AI - if not THE most.

In a statement to The Times, Li doubled down on her email.

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Li is a prominent advocate for "human-centered AI" that helps people in "benevolent" ways. "It is deeply against my principles to work on any project that I think is to weaponize AI".

Greene told Googlers the backlash against the firm's involvement in the project had been awful for the company, Gizmodo reported.

Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene announced the decision at a meeting with employees Friday morning, three sources told Gizmodo. More than 200 academics and researchers also demanded that Google pull out of the deal.

Even though the internal protest has carried on for months, there was no indication that employee criticism of the deal was dying down.

One outgoing engineer petitioned to rename a conference room after Clara Immerwahr, a German chemist who killed herself in 1915 after protesting the use of science in warfare. "Do the Right Thing" stickers have also appeared in Google's NY office, according to The Times.

[.] Google meant to build a "Google-earth-like" surveillance system that would allow Pentagon analysts to "click on a building and see everything associated with it" and build graphs of objects like vehicles, people, land features, and large crowds for "the entire city", states one email recapping a Maven kickoff meeting with Pentagon representatives.

Google, which declined to comment, has faced widespread public backlash and employee resignations for helping develop technological tools that could aid in warfighting.

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