Google Will Reportedly Stop Analyzing Pentagon Drone Footage

An internal petition calling for Google to stay out of

Google workers have got word that the internet titan will retreat from a deal to help the U.S. military use artificial intelligence to analyze drone video following an outcry from staff, according to reports.

"Google is already battling with privacy issues when it comes to AI and data; 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", she added. According to several internal emails obtained by reporter Kate Conger, Google officials were optimistic that working on Project Maven could open the doors to much more lucrative contracts with the USA military and intelligence agencies, including a reputed $10 billion cloud computing contract, which several large tech companies have put in bids for.

In newer reports published by tech site Gizmodo last night, internal emails have shown that senior executives at Google Cloud saw Maven as a golden opportunity to open doors for military and intelligence contracts, but were deeply concerned about how the company's involvement would be viewed.

Over 3,100 Google employees protested in April for this.




More than 700 Google employees had joined an online group inside the company called Maven Conscientious Objectors, using it to vent their concerns about the project and discuss ways of protesting against it. The petition also demanded the company implement "a clear policy stating that neither Google nor its contractors will ever build warfare technology", the New York Times reported.

The Pentagon deal sparked a huge debate inside Google, which has historically avoided most military work.

Maven had an initial budget of US$70 million. In an open letter addressed to CEO Sundar Pichai, Google employees expressed concern that the USA military could weaponize AI and apply the technology towards refining drone strikes and other kinds of lethal attacks. Google was reported of working on a set of guidelines that could see the ban on use of AI in warfare. "All of these would save the lives of our people or protect our networks or society".

But Google has also been facing outside pressure.

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