Google to scrub USA military deal protested by employees

Citing three sources with knowledge of the matter, Gizmodo reports that Google will not seek another contract when the current Project Maven contract expires in 2019.

But Kate Conger, a journalist for the technology news website Gizmodo, told the BBC that Google had not cancelled Project Maven and did not appear to have ruled out future work with the military. And while Gizmodo reported last week that IBM has been approached by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to potentially work on the project, a spokesperson for IBM tells Fast Company that "IBM does not have and has not had a contract to work on Project Maven".

As part of an effort called Project Maven, Google provides the Pentagon with artificial intelligence technology that speeds up the process of analyzing video images. Google's internal unrest became the subject of public record back in April, when thousands signed a letter protesting the company's work with the Defense Department.

4,000 Google employees signed a petition demanding "a clear policy stating that neither Google nor its contractors will ever build warfare technology".

Google intends to introduce new "ethical principals" next week involving its use of artificial intelligence, Gizmodo reported.

Maven was Google's first military contract, and the move was immediately met with resistance by Google's employees.

"It is incumbent on us to show leadership [in the ethical use of AI]", Green reportedly said during the meeting.

What are your thoughts on Google's decision to stop working on Maven?




Google is breaking up with the Pentagon.

"We value all of our relationships with academic institutions and commercial companies involved with Project Maven", Harris said.

About a dozen Google employees have quit over Maven.

"I am incredibly happy about this decision, and have a deep respect for the many people who worked and risked to make it happen".

Google in August 2017 hosted defence executives to demonstrate its artificial intelligence capabilities, according to a document shared with Google employees and seen by Reuters.

The debate around the project centres on Google's corporate image - its unofficial slogan was "Don't Be Evil" for years - and, although some say AI could help reduce civilian casualties from drone strikes, others believe the company should not be engaging with military at all on principle.

The emails also revealed that Silicon Valley heavyweights including IBM, Amazon, and Microsoft were in the running for AI Defense Department contracts, and that Project Maven was "directly related" to a government cloud computing contract worth billions of dollars.

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