Home Technology Regulation Google staff protest involvement in Pentagon drone project
Google staff protest involvement in Pentagon drone project Featured

Rank and file workers at Google, including a number of senior engineers, have submitted a letter to senior management to protest against a decision to provide technology to a US Defence Department programme that uses artificial intelligence to interpret video images and assist in targeting enemies in drone strikes.

The letter has more than 3100 signatures, according to  The New York Times, which published the missive on Wednesday.

Google announced recently that it would be providing help to Project Maven, a joint effort with the Pentagon, which uses video imagery in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism missions. The project aims to develop artificial intelligence to analyse drone footage and identify objects within it

The letter, addressed to Google chief Sundar Pichai, said: "We believe that Google should not be in the business of war. Therefore we ask that Project Maven be cancelled, and that Google draft, publicise and enforce a clear policy stating that neither Google nor its contractors will ever build warfare technology."

Google's former chairman Eric Schmidt last year expressed concerns over such projects, saying: "There's a general concern in the tech community of somehow the military-industrial complex using their stuff to kill people incorrectly."

The letter went on: "Recently, Googlers voiced concerns about Maven internally. Diane Greene responded, assuring them that the technology will not 'operate or fly drones' and 'will not be used to launch weapons'. While this eliminates a narrow set of direct applications, the technology is being built for the military, and once it’s delivered it could easily be used to assist in these tasks.

"This plan will irreparably damage Google’s brand and its ability to compete for talent. Amid growing fears of biased and weaponised AI, Google is already struggling to keep the public’s trust. By entering into this contract, Google will join the ranks of companies like Palantir, Raytheon, and General Dynamics.

"The argument that other firms, like Microsoft and Amazon, are also participating doesn’t make this any less risky for Google. Google’s unique history, its motto Don’t Be Evil, and its direct reach into the lives of billions of users set it apart."

The letter asked Pichai to cancel the project and draft a policy that neither Google nor its contractors would build warfare technology.

FREE SEMINAR

Site24x7 Seminars

Deliver Better User Experience in Today's Era of Digital Transformation

Some IT problems are better solved from the cloud

Join us as we discuss how DevOps in combination with AIOps can assure a seamless user experience, and assist you in monitoring all your individual IT components—including your websites, services, network infrastructure, and private or public clouds—from a single, cloud-based dashboard.

Sydney 7th May 2019

Melbourne 09 May 2019

Don’t miss out! Register Today!

REGISTER HERE!

LEARN HOW TO REDUCE YOUR RISK OF A CYBER ATTACK

Australia is a cyber espionage hot spot.

As we automate, script and move to the cloud, more and more businesses are reliant on infrastructure that has the high potential to be exposed to risk.

It only takes one awry email to expose an accounts’ payable process, and for cyber attackers to cost a business thousands of dollars.

In the free white paper ‘6 Steps to Improve your Business Cyber Security’ you’ll learn some simple steps you should be taking to prevent devastating and malicious cyber attacks from destroying your business.

Cyber security can no longer be ignored, in this white paper you’ll learn:

· How does business security get breached?
· What can it cost to get it wrong?
· 6 actionable tips

DOWNLOAD NOW!

Sam Varghese

website statistics

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

 

Popular News

 

Telecommunications

 

Guest Opinion

 

Sponsored News

 

 

 

 

Connect