Google retreating from military AI project

03 June, 2018, 18:18 | Author: Sheri Evans

Tech publication Gizmodo first reported that Google Cloud Chief Executive Diane Greene told employees on Friday Google's role in the programme would end. Gizmodo reports that Google's initial contract with the Pentagon was worth at least $9 million, and possibly as much as $15 million.

Internal emails, reviewed by Gizmodo, suggest that Google's leadership was initially very enthusiastic about the project, as it could lead to more military contracts in the future.

It looks like the seemingly-never-ending fiasco over Google's involvement with the Pentagon's Project Maven isn't going away any time soon. So Maven recruited several tech firms for image recognition technology that could be used to identify objects of interest in the footage.

Google says it will produce a set of principles for guiding decisions regarding defense and intelligence contracts.

Google did not immediately respond to the online magazine's request for comment, Gizmodo said.

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"I think we should do a good PR on the story of DoD collaborating with GCP from a vanilla cloud technology angle (storage, network, security, etc.), but avoid at COSTS any mention or implication of AI", Fei-Fei Li, chief scientist for AI at Google Cloud, wrote in an email on September 24, 2017.

Google News Lab's Asia Pacific HQ in Singapore.

"They may want to act like they're not in the business of war, but the business of war long ago came to them", said Mr. Singer, author of a book examining such issues called "LikeWar", scheduled for publication in the fall. Despite Google's assurances that the project was "specifically scoped to be for non-offensive purposes", an internal petition signed by over 4,000 employees demanded that Google leave the project.

We've reached out to Google and The Pentagon for more information.

Google plans to honour what is left of its contract on Project Maven, the person said.

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The EFF and others stressed the need for moral and ethical frameworks regarding the use of artificial intelligence in weaponry.

Google is dealing with the employee unrest stemming from the Project Maven contract.

Google's artificial intelligence would bring "an exquisite capability" for "near-real time analysis", the email said.

Funding for Project Maven, which is also known as the Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Function Team, grew to US$131 million (NZ$188 million) in the federal budget signed in March by US President Donald Trump. "We value all of our relationships with academic institutions and commercial companies involved with Project Maven".

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