Google employees resign over controversial Pentagon drone AI project

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Google employees resign over controversial Pentagon drone AI project

In October of 2017, over 100 companies attended an industry event related to Project Maven, according to the Defense Department.

Earlier NV reported that more than 3 thousand employees of Google have signed an open letter to the leadership of the Corporation, demanding to refuse participation in the program of the Pentagon to the development of artificial intelligence for combat drones. Maven aims to use machine learning to speed up the time it takes computers to analyze drone footage to identify people and objects.

4,000 employees of Google have already signed a petition (probably made in Google Forms) which asks the company to immediately cancel the project and make a policy that would prevent the company from getting involved with the military ever again. "Over the last couple of months, I've been less and less impressed with the response and the way people's concerns are being treated and listened to", said one resigning employee. The tech could help spot things that the eyes of a human operator could easily miss.

Project Maven is an effort to help the Pentagon use artificial intelligence to interpret surveillance video.

The Pentagon's efforts to integrate AI into its defense system started past year when the military commanders and technology executives met at the Pentagon Silicon Valley outpost. Eric Schmidt, Google's former boss, proposed using that tactic to map out strategies for standoffs with China over next 20 years.

"With Project Maven, Google becomes implicated in the questionable practice of targeted killings".

Medin and Schmidt, who are on the Pentagon Defense Innovation Board, have been pushing the search giant to work with the government on counter terrorism, cybersecurity and telecommunications among other projects. This is possibly the first time so many Google employees have resigned in protest. The protest, which throws light on the Silicon Valley companies deploying data and technology, has forced an action from Pichai. He and his lieutenants are drafting ethical principles to guide the deployment of Google's powerful AI tech, according to people familiar with the plans. According to Mercury News, citing sources familiar with the plan, the draft would shape the future work of the company.

For its part, Google says that its Pentagon contract is only a test and that it covers non-classified images.

Nevertheless, Google's part in the project has been widely criticized within the company. "Building this technology to assist the US Government in military surveillance - and potentially lethal outcomes - is not acceptable".

She is one of the authors of a letter published Monday and signed by at least 260 researchers, academics and scholars that demands Google pull out of Project Maven and commit to never developing military technologies. "We are then just a short step away from authorizing autonomous drones to kill automatically, without human supervision or meaningful human control", the International Committee for Robot Arms Control wrote in their open letter to Google's leaders.

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