Saturday, 22 September, 2018

Google employees resigning due to Pentagon drone contract

Google A Step Towards Autonomous Killing Machines InvestingGoogle A Step Towards Autonomous Killing Machines?By Amiya Moretta
Ginger Lawrence | 15 May, 2018, 23:46

However, now the protest has gone to the next level with several employees reportedly resigning from the organization.

"Google is implementing Project Maven, a customized AI surveillance engine that uses "Wide Area Motion Imagery" data captured by US Government drones to detect vehicles and other objects, track their motions, and provide results to the Department of Defense", the employees wrote in the letter.

Google employees are resigning in protest at a controversial artificial intelligence programme being developed for the United States military by the company, according to reports.

"At some point, I realized I could not in good faith recommend anyone join Google, knowing what I knew".

"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", one employee who resigned told Gizmodo. Employees claim that the search giant has been less transparent with employees and is less concerned with the employees and staffers resignation.

The group wants Google to terminate its role in Project Maven, vow never to develop military technologies nor use personal data it has collected for military operations, and promise never to participate in the development of autonomous weapons.

The Pentagon's efforts to integrate AI into its defense system started a year ago 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.

The world of academia has also raised concerns over Google's work with the Pentagon. "We believe that Google should not be in the business of war", it read.

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Google's own workers aren't alone in protesting its participation in the project.

Almost 4,000 Google employees have opposed Project Maven in an internal petition, asking Google to cancel the contract and implement a policy against taking on future military work. 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.

"Google has moved into military work without subjecting itself to public debate or deliberation, either domestically or internationally".

Google has repeatedly denied the malicious use of its technology in its government contract with the Pentagon.

Google has defended their involvement in the program, saying their technology will handle tedious tasks that waste soldiers' time, while also making drone surveillance more accurate.

An open letter calling for change was published Monday by the International Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC), a non-governmental organization (NGO) made up of experts in artificial intelligence (AI), humanitarian law and human rights campaigning.

Back in April, as many as 3,100 Google employees had signed a letter urging CEO Sundar Pichai to revoke Google's involvement in the project.